archives

Thunder Valley Casino

This tag is associated with 35 posts

The Leslie Brodie Report Republishes Article RE Little Hoover Commission Conflict of Interest Amid Allegations Concerning Howard Dickstein / Jeannine English — Part 2: Big Mystery of Little Hoover Commission

Originally published on June 13, 2011:

On October 15, 1990, following consultation among Board President Dr. Joseph Carrabino, Board member Joseph Stein, and the Superintendent, the Department entered into a legal services contract with Howard Dickstein, an attorney who had previously worked with the Little Hoover Commission on educational issues.

Below is a comment which was inserted by TLR on June 13, 2011:

Jeannine English — Howard Dickstein’s spouse, served as the Executive Director of the Little Hoover Commission.

See original @:

http://lesliebrodie.posterous.com/state-bd-of-education-v-honig-jeannine-englis

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

See text of case of  @

http://law.justia.com/cases/california/caapp4th/13/720.html

 

 

The Leslie Brodie Report Republishes Article of Suit Against Little Hoover Commission Conflict of Interest Amid Allegations Concering Howard Dickstein / Jeannine English (TLR Note: Shrimpscam Gwen Moore Also Part of Hoover) — Part 1

Originally published on June 12, 2011:

    The seldom controversial Little Hoover Commission has been slapped with a lawsuit that charges the state watchdog panel with hiring an outside consultant on gambling with a clear conflict of interest: He has worked for the gaming industry.

    The lawsuit filed in Sacramento County Superior Court was brought by former state Sen. Barry Keene and taxpayer advocate Bruce Henderson, a former San Diego city councilman. They allege that the state has misspent taxpayer funds.

 

See @:

http://lesliebrodie.posterous.com/suit-alleges-panel-gaming-expert-has-conflict

 

 

———————————————————————————————————————-

Original Los Angeles Times @:

http://articles.latimes.com/1997-04-30/news/mn-53951_1_gaming-interests

 

Suit Alleges Panel Gaming Expert Has Conflict of Interest

April 30, 1997|MAX VANZI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SACRAMENTO — The seldom controversial Little Hoover Commission has been slapped with a lawsuit that charges the state watchdog panel with hiring an outside consultant on gambling with a clear conflict of interest: He has worked for the gaming industry.

The lawsuit filed in Sacramento County Superior Court was brought by former state Sen. Barry Keene and taxpayer advocate Bruce Henderson, a former San Diego city councilman. They allege that the state has misspent taxpayer funds.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday May 1, 1997 Home Edition Part A Page 3 Metro Desk 2 inches; 46 words Type of Material: Correction
Gaming consultant–A Times story Wednesday about a lawsuit against the Little Hoover Commission erred in saying the commission was unaware of gambling consultant I. Nelson Rose’s connections to the gaming industry. Rose submitted to the commission a list of his gaming industry clients before it hired him to do a gambling study.

They argue that the commission hired a consultant who has represented the gambling industry and failed to report his financial interests to the Fair Political Practices Commission as required by state law.

The consultant is I. Nelson Rose, a Whittier College law professor and gaming issues expert who has worked for Nevada casinos, other gambling interests and government agencies.

Rose, also named in the suit, called it “frivolous” and likely to be thrown out because his case is also before the FPPC.

Keene and Henderson demanded restitution to the state treasury of $85,000 that Rose was to be paid for his six-month study. Additionally, Keene’s lawyer, Lowell Finley, said that unless the FPPC seeks further damages, Keene will sue Rose for another $255,000 in punitive damages.

The commission hired Rose after deciding that it wanted a comprehensive study of legalized gambling in California, from Indian gaming and horse racing to card rooms. Rose began his work four months ago. He was hired based on his expert knowledge of the gaming industry.

The 13-member commission apparently was unaware of his ties to the industry as a consultant and Rose apparently did not tell it.

Rose said Tuesday that he realized that those connected with the commission were required to report all financial interests to the FPPC, but thought that outside consultants could be excluded by obtaining a waiver from the commission’s executive director.

However, the commission’s executive director, Jeannine English, herself had a conflict, Rose said, and could not rule on his request. English’s husband, a lawyer, has dealings with gaming interests.

On April 13, Rose appealed to the FPPC, seeking a waiver.

A public hearing on the commission study is scheduled today in Sacramento.

Another commission member, Assemblywoman Diane Martinez (D-Monterey Park), said she agrees that it was improper to hire Rose–an action taken before she was appointed.

Martinez urged Richard Terzian, the commission’s chairman, to terminate Rose’s contract and cancel the study.

 

Jessica Tavares — Distinguished Ex-Chairwoman of the United Auburn Indian Community Hereby Asked to Disclose (If Known) Relationship (If Any) Between Thunder Valley Casino and Placer County Assistant District Attorney Clark Gehlbach

Jessica Tavares — Distinguished Ex-Chairwoman of the United Auburn Indian Community Hereby Asked to Disclose (If Known) Relationship (If Any) Between Thunder Valley Casino and Placer County Assistant District Attorney Clark Gehlbach

 

Related story, please see @:

tinyurl.com/883u3mx

Jessica Tavares — Distinguished Ex-Chairwoman of the United Auburn Indian Community (owner of Thunder Valley casino resort) Hereby Asked to Opine on Allegation by IRS Concerning Massive Fraud Perpetrated on Thunder Valley Casino

IRS Special Agent Daniel M. Norman alleges construction fraud cheated Thunder Valley Casino tribe (TLR Note: Respectfully, difficult to conceive how such a scheme went undetected by Howard Dickstein)

An audacious fraud scheme that targeted the owners of the Thunder Valley Casino may have garnered three men more than $18.6 million, the federal government claims as it moves to seize dozens of properties from the trio.

Court documents filed late Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento describe a two-year overbilling and money-laundering spree by the men who oversaw construction of the headquarters complex for the United Auburn Indian Community.

 

A 189-page affidavit from an Internal Revenue Service agent says money from the alleged scheme was plowed into dozens of luxury properties stretching from Sacramento to Hawaii to the suburbs of San Diego, which the government now is trying to seize.

Proceeds were funneled into commercial properties, vacation homes, top-of-the-line remodels and high-end vehicles, including a $140,965 Lamborghini Gallardo, and two Bentleys, one of them a convertible, the court documents allege.

At the center of the probe is Bart Volen, a Sacramento developer who was hired by the tribe in October 2006 to manage construction of four buildings known as the Indian Hills Office Project, or IHOP, in Auburn.

The 52-year-old Volen, who moved his offices to San Diego last year, is accused in the documents of masterminding a scheme that at times relied on techniques as simple as adding a digit to an invoice amount. Hence, a $768 waterproofing bill submitted to Volen by a contractor was transformed into an invoice for $3,768 when it was passed on to the tribe for payment, the affidavit alleges.

 

Please see complete story @:

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/22/4357424/feds-allege-construction-fraud.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Record of Prior Attempt to Discredit The Leslie Brodie Report and/or YR in Matters Involving Jeannine English and Spouse Howard Dickstein — Part 2 of 2

Record of communication from YR to State Bar of California’s Robert Hawley dated 06/30/2011, below:

Mr. Hawley:

The Leslie Brodie Report alludes to a complaint which was filed against Jeannine English with the California Board of Accountancy.It further states that neither the organization nor Leslie were involved in the filing of the complaint.

Out of abundance of caution, lest a finger be pointed at me, this will serve to state that I neither contacted nor advanced a complaint against Ms. English to the California Board of Accountancy.

In fact, I wasn’t even aware that Ms. English is a CPA.

Thanks,

Record of Prior Attempt to Discredit The Leslie Brodie Report and/or YR in Matters Involving Jeannine English and Spouse Howard Dickstein — Part 1 of 2

Originally published on 30/06/2011

See @:

 

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/06/30/d-e-v-e-l-o-p-i-n-g-the-leslie-brod…

 

 

 

D E V E L O P I N G …The Leslie Brodie Report (and Leslie Brodie) to Dispute Claim it Had Filed a Complaint with California Board of Accountancy Against Jeannine L. English

June 29, 2011

RE: Jeannine L. English, CPA

Dear Leslie Brodie:

This letter will acknowledge receipt of your recent material regarding the above-referenced complaint.

We will review your complaint and advise you as to the California Board of Accountancy’s jurisdictional authority in this matter. We may also request additional information from you.

If you have not previously done so, please provide this office with a telephone number where you can be contacted during the day.

Sincerely,

Liz Nunally
ENFORCEMENT DIVISION


Liz Nunally, Enforcement Unit
California Board of Accountancy
2000 Evergreen St., Suite 250
Sacramento, CA 95815

(916) 561-1729 – Direct Line

(916) 263-3673 – FAX

lnunally@cba.ca.gov

#3 Jessica Tavares is Hereby Asked to Opine Whether Home Invasion by Jeff Reisig of Yoloan Rabbi Instigated by Cache Creek Casino / Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation Due to Exposing Corruption of Howard Dickstein

# 2 — Jessica Tavares is Hereby Asked to Opine on Possibility of Bill Lockyer’s Secret Ownership, Through Thomas Girardi, of Stakes in Indian Casinos, and Mainly Clients of Howard Dickstein

Please feel free to contact TLR with all relevant information, if any, @ lesliebrodie@in.com 

 

Jessica Tavares — Ex Chairwoman of United Auburn Indian Community — Hereby Asked to Opine on Home Invasion of Yoloan Rabbi Who Exposes Howard Dickstein and Jeannine English

Richard Crane — Formerly of Girardi & Keese — Hereby Asked to Disclose Any and ALL Secret Ownership, If At All, Thomas Girardi, Walter Lack, and Bill Lockyer Possess in Indian Casinos, and Mainly Clients of Howard Dickstein

Richard Crane — Formerly of Girardi & Keese — Hereby Asked to Disclose Any and ALL Secret Ownership, If At All, Thomas Girardi, Walter Lack, and Bill Lockyer Possess in Indian Casinos, and Mainly Clients of Howard Dickstein.

As part of a journalistic inquiry, The Leslie Brodie Report hereby  asks Richard Crane to disclose any and all ownership (secret or otherwise)  Thomas Girardi, Walter Lack , and Bill Lockyer posseses, if at all,  in Indian Casinos operating in California, and mainly clients of gambling attorney Howard Dickstein.

Please observe that, rather than contacting Mr Crane directly, the query is being delivered publicly, here and now.

Any opinion or observation can be sent to lesliebrodie@gmx.com

 

Nadia Lockyer — Spouse of Bill Lockyer — Hereby Asked to Disclose Any and All Secret Ownership, If Any, Bill Lockyer May Have in Indian Casinos, and Mainly Clients of Howard Dickstein

As part of a journalistic inquiry, The Leslie Brodie Report hereby  asks Ms Nadia Lockyer  to disclose any and all ownership (secret or otherwise)  Bill Lockyer posseses, if at all,  in Indian Casinos operating in California, and mainly clients of gambling attorney Howard Dickstein.

Please observe that, rather than contacting Ms Lockyer directly, the query is being delivered publicly, here and now.

Any opinion or observation can be sent to lesliebrodie@gmx.com

Breaking News: Sen. John McCain takes aim at fees earned by Sacramento lawyer Howard Dickstein (Spouse of State Bar’s Jeannine English)

U.S. Sen. John McCain is complaining to federal Indian gaming officials about the millions earned by Sacramento attorney Howard Dickstein, the lawyer for Thunder Valley Casino and its tribal owner.

The Arizona Republican cited Dickstein’s fees in a recent letter to the head of the National Indian Gaming Commission. McCain wants legislation that would broaden the NIGC’s oversight over tribes’ contracts with business partners.

McCain took aim at Dickstein’s $26 million in earnings the United Auburn Indian Community over a six-year period ending in early 2009. The fees included a 2 percent cut of the Thunder Valley profits distributed to tribal members, as reported by The Bee.

McCain’s letter described the 2 percent arrangement as a “lapse in oversight authority” by the NIGC. The letter was first reported by the online information service Gambling Compliance.

Dickstein dismissed McCain’s comments in an interview with The Bee today, noting that McCain has been trying for years to extend the NIGC’s authority over tribal contracts. “He’s trying to resurrect something that died an early death,” Dickstein said.

See complete story @:
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/07/4245868/sen-mccain-takes-aim-at-fees-earned….

Related story @:
http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/06/14/state-bar-of-california-board-of-go…

And @:
http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/07/12/state-bar-of-california-board-of-go…

Sacramento Chamber Honors Sutter’s Pat Fry, McGeorge’s Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, PRIDE ‘s Michael Ziegler (TLR Note: One Degree of Separation from CaliforniaALL, Howard Dickstein, Jeannine English, Pat Fong Kushida)

Metro Chamber names standouts in Sacramento region

Published: Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 6B

Sutter Health CEO Pat Fry and Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, dean of University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, were honored as the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s businessman and businesswoman of the year Friday at the chamber’s annual dinner and business awards.

Fry has served as president and chief executive officer of the Sacramento-based health network since 2005. As CEO, Fry is overseeing the 10-story Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center now being built in Sacramento.

Parker, who joined Pacific McGeorge in 2002, strengthened the school’s international and advocacy programs. Parker also piloted a $16 million remodeling project at the school that led to the opening of a new legal studies center last year.

Michael Ziegler, president and chief executive officer of PRIDE Industries, was named Sacramentan of the year.

Marketing firm 3Fold Communications received small business of the year honors.

Sacramento Chamber Honors Sutter’s Pat Fry, McGeorge’s Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, PRIDE ‘s Michael Ziegler (TLR Note: One Degree of Separation from CaliforniaALL, Howard Dickstein, Jeannine English, Pat Fong Kushida)

See Story @:
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/28/4221390/metro-chamber-names-standouts.html#

CaliforniaALL’s Pat Fong Kushida, please see @:
http://www.suttermedicalcenter.org/about/board.cfm

Howard Dickstein, please see @:
http://www.prideindustries.com/index.cfm?navid=43

Jeannine English, please see @:
http://www.prideindustriesfoundation.org/?navId=144

Indian Country : Howard Dickstein — Sacramento Lawyer Responsible for California Gaming Tribes’ Wealth Takes the Hot Seat (TLR Note: At this Point, No Opinion)

Share This Story

Submit this story

Sacramento lawyer Howard Dickstein, 67, earned his riches representing California Indian tribes—cutting deals with governors and paving the way for the state’s $7 billion-a-year Indian casino industry, reported the Sacramento Bee.

But recently the man—who helped defend about 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement against charges stemming from the 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation—has come under the microscope for amassing great wealth at the expense of his clients.

Dickstein negotiated the compacts for three of the region’s top casinos: Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel, Cache Creek Casino Resort and Thunder Valley Casino Resort. Contract terms required the immensely successful Thunder Valley to give 2 percent of its share to Dickstein’s firm until 2009—funneling about $23 million Dickstein’s way. But the Sacramento Bee reports that legal experts and rival tribal lawyers say the arrangement is unusual. Dickstein defends every dollar. “A tribe’s financial relationship with me is a phenomenal net benefit to the tribe,” he said.

Now two banned members of the United Auburn Indian Community, which owns Thunder Valley, are suing Dickstein for duping the tribe into paying $26 million in fees over six years.

Allegations against Dickstein are nothing new. The Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians (now known as the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation), owner of Cache Creek, sued Dickstein and his two business partners for effectively taking control of the tribe and profiting through suspicious land deals, meanwhile pulling in excessive fees and traveling on a jet funded by the tribe. The suit claims Dickstein’s firm netted $18 million (one-half of 1 percent of Cache Creek’s profits) from 1993 and 2006, when he was terminated.

Read more about the Villanova University School of Law-trained lawyer and former Malaysia-based law professor whose path to riches has garnered him criticism, backlash and lawsuits on the Sacramento Bee.

Please see article @:
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/01/23/sacramento-lawyer-respon…

Sources: Amid Growing Concerns State Bar of California Board of Governors Public Members Dennis Mangers and Jeannine English (Spouse of Howard Dickstein) Will Be Formally Asked to Inquire Into Actions and Statements by Jill Sperber

California, Indian Tribes Uncertain About Federal Wire Act

January 6, 2012 · Filed Under Online Gambling News, Online Poker News 

California is gearing up to the idea of accepting other forms of internet gambling, including poker, however it seems that California’s Indian tribes have a lot of uncertainty with the recent changes in the definition of the Federal Wire Act.

Howard Dickstein, a specialist on tribal gaming and jurisdictional issues says,“I think most of us assumed that the Wire Act did not apply to intrastate Internet gaming, but this confirms it.”

“And it also provides California with the opportunity apart from what the federal government decides to do with Internet gaming to enter into agreements with other states to increase the market, the liquidity, and viability of state authorized Internet gaming,“ Dickstein said.

Jessica Tavares — ex-chairwoman of the United Auburn Indian Community — Assials “Puppeteer” Howard Dickstein

Bryan Patrick / bpatrick@sacbee.com

Jessica Tavares, 62, ex-chairwoman of the United Auburn Indian Community – owner of Thunder Valley casino resort – was among seven members banned from tribal property. Six lost their $30,000-plus monthly casino dividends. The tribal council said the group had violated tribal slander laws, but Tavares accuses attorney Howard Dickstein of engineering their ouster, saying, “He’s the puppeteer.”

See more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/22/4205410/sacramento-attorney-howard-dickstein…#storylink=cpy

Related stories, please see :

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/06/14/state-bar-of-california-board-of-go…

 

And @:

 

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/07/12/state-bar-of-california-board-of-go…

 

And @;

 

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/06/28/rumsey-indian-rancheria-vs-howard-d…

 

And @:

 

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/06/29/i-ll-take-keker-van-nest-s-elliott-…

Sacramento attorney Howard Dickstein has made tribes rich, comes under fire – Sacramento News (TLR Note: Sunday Jan 22, 2012 11:46 pm ??? Presently GMT is 14:11 California Time is 06:11 AM)

Published: Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012 – 11:46 pm | Page 1A

Tribal Gambling Attorney Howard Dickstein (Spouse State Bar of California’s Jeannine English) comes under fire – again (TLR Note: 1- Article Shows Softer Side of Dickstein 2- Much Ado Abut Nothing 3 – Undisclosed, if any, Relationship with Girardi Still


Bryan Patrick/bpatrick@sacbee.com

Howard Dickstein, 67, at his Sacramento law office filled with modern art, offers no apologies for the wealth he’s amassed from representing California Indian tribes, saying tribal members “know what I stand for and know what my fees are. … I am what I am. I am my own person. Some people like it and some people don’t.”

See complete story @:
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/22/4205410/sacramento-attorney-howard-dickstein…

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/06/14/state-bar-of-california-board-of-go…

And @:

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/07/12/state-bar-of-california-board-of-go…

And @:

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/06/29/i-ll-take-keker-van-nest-s-elliott-…

And @:

http://lesliebrodie.blog.co.uk/2011/06/28/rumsey-indian-rancheria-vs-howard-d…

TLR Note:
Tribal Gambling Attorney Howard Dickstein (Spouse State Bar of California’s Jeannine English) comes under fire – again (TLR Note: 1- Article Shows Softer Side of Dickstein 2- Much Ado Abut Nothing 3 – Undisclosed, if any, Relationship with Girardi Still an Issue 4- Good Luck to All Parties)

State Bar of California Board of Governors Urges Changes to Conflicts of Interest Policy

Following on the heels of major discoveries of alleged public corruption by a Yoloan Rabbi relating to several members of the State Bar Board of Governors (“BOG”) in areas relating to self-dealing, conflicts of interest and lack of disclosures; the BOG recently took swift action by calling a special meeting and passing a resolution to encourage the California Legislature to adopt new and revised “Conflict of Interest” policies that would apply to all members, and establish the qualifications expected from those who serve as public members of the BOG.

As previously reported here, and according to confidential sources, State Bar’s establishment was shocked by the scope and magnitude of the revelations purveyed by YR as they relate to member Jeannine English and her husband, tribal gambling attorney Howard Dickstein.

In addition, the BOG was prompted to action by previous revelations purveyed by YR concerning CaliforniaALL, CCPF, Ruthe Ashley, Buchalter Nemer’s Holly Fujie, CCPF’s Judy Johnson; State Bar Executive Director Emeritus, Gwen Moore, Girardi & Keese’s Howard Miller, Howard Rice’s Douglas Winthrop; UNH’s Sarah Redfield; member Council on Access and Fairness, and others.

As such, according to the sources, a complaint and a request for investigation delivered to the Board of Governors on June 12, 2011 see http://tinyurl.com/jeannineenglish , relating to member Jeannine English as well as prior revelations prompted the BOG to convene a special session on June 17 to, among others, introduce amendments to the proposed legislation.

Below is a snapshot of the outcome of the meeting and the result of the vote.

State Bar of California BOG June 17 Vote
(photo:courtesy yr)

All members voted “yes”, except Laura Chick, Angela Davis, George Davis, Jeannine English, Dennis Mangers, and Michael Tenenbaum.

Moreover, and according to sources, the current “conflicts of interest” policy is still lacking, and proposed revisions will soon be dispatched to the point of contact.

According to the sources, a recommendation will be proposed by which an area on the BOG website will be devoted to disclosures – similar to those appearing on court websites that provide “seminar disclosures” by judges – on which members can make public disclosures concerning matters such as membership and involvement in other organizations, foundations, business dealings, and particularly regarding litigation matters.

For example, if BOG Member A and BOG Member B presently represent plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit, such information should be disclosed and otherwise be made available for public viewing.

I’ll Take Keker & Van Nest’s Elliott Peters in WHAT’S THE NAME OF THE GAME? (Part 3) for a True Daily Double, Alex


Mr. Elliot Peters of Keker & Van Nest who represented Howard Dickstein in a suit containing 14 causes of action such as Fraud, Constructive Fraud, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Conversion ,Civil Conspiracy, and Negligence. (Photo:courtesy amlawdaily)

Toward the end of 2007, Plaintiffs Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians (now known as the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation) — represented by Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy — filed a suit in Yolo County Superior Court against Howard Dickstein and Jane Zerbi of Dickstein & Zerbi and Arlen Opper, a financial consultant, accusing them of unjustly enriching themselves with tribal money by defrauding the tribe of millions of dollars over more than a decade.

Howard Dickstein, the spouse of State Bar of California Board of Governors member Jeannine English. allegedly engaged in “a course of dealing that involved breaches of trust and violations of duties of the most basic, and, indeed, sacred kind.”

The complaint, Rumsey vs. Dickstein, alleged 14 causes of action, to wit:

(1) BREACH OF CONTRACT
(2) BREACH OF CONTRACT
(3) NEGLIGENCE
(4) BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY
(5) AIDING AND ABETTING AND PARTICIPATING IN BREACHES OF FIDUCIARY DUTY
(6) FRAUD/CONCEALMENT
(7) CONSTRUCTIVE FRAUD
(8) NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION
(9) CONVERSION
(10) VIOLATION OF BUSINESS & PROFESSIONS CODE SECTION 17200
(11) UNJUST ENRICHMENT
(12) DECLARATORY RELIEF
(13) NEGLIGENCE
(14) CIVIL CONSPIRACY

In statements to the media, Howard Dickstein referred to the allegations as a “pack of lies,” while disparaging his client. Dickstein also stated that he plans to fight the suit and “fight hard.”

Appearing on behalf of defendant Dickstein was Elliot Peters of Keker & Van Nest.

Defendants claimed that only a U.S. District Court has jurisdiction over the matter, and removed the case to federal court.

Plaintiff remanded back to state court. Defendants filed for a change of venue and moved the action from Yolo to the Superior Court in the county of Sacramento.

On its website, http://www.kvn.com/Lawyers/Peters-Elliot , Keker & Van Nest and Elliot Peters describe the above mentioned suit:
KVN

Paraphrasing the answer as a question.

1) Do you believe Keker & Van Nest and Elliot Peters, who represented Howard Dickstein in a suit which alleged 14 causes of action which was transferred to Sacramento Superior Court, refer, truthfully, to the case of Rumsey vs. Dickstein by stating “The plaintiffs alleged our client, the plaintiff’s former attorneys, were negligent.”?

Rumsey vs. Howard Dickstein et al, 57 Pages Complaint with 14 Causes of Action

Jeannine English (Spouse of Howard Dickstein) Asked to Disclose Business Relationship (if any) with Boyd Gaming Corp’s Thomas Girardi

Details soon….

7 March 2003 — Tribal Casinos Seek More Slots

Gaming News

California Casinos Seek More Slots

7 March 2003

by Liz Benston

LAS VEGAS — Two tribal casinos in California managed by Las Vegas companies may seek an increase in the number of slot machines they are allowed under existing state compacts, representatives say.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. manages the Harrah’s Rincon Casino and Resort near San Diego for the Rincon San Luiseno Band of Mission Indians. Station Casinos Inc. will manage and is developing the upcoming Thunder Valley Casino near Sacramento for the United Auburn Indian Community.

Both tribes have recently joined a coalition of 21 California tribes that became the first in the state to formally announce their desire to discuss sharing casino revenue with the state in exchange for expanding the number of slot machines at their casinos, among other issues.

California tribes now may offer up to 2,000 devices each.

In a letter to California Gov. Gray Davis last month, the coalition said it recognizes that “the exercise of rights triggers responsibilities, including the obligation to fairly mitigate off-reservation impacts of future development.”

The coalition — representing a cross-section of tribes with both large and small casinos as well as tribes without casinos — expects to negotiate a variety of issues with the governor beginning this month. It also aims to distance itself from other tribes that have been critical of the governor’s plan to extract $1.5 billion in revenue from the state’s tribal casinos.

The Auburn tribe may ask for more slot machines because it is closer to urban areas that can support greater demand, said Howard Dickstein, a Sacramento attorney representing Auburn and other coalition tribes.

John Currier, chairman of the Rincon tribe, said it expects to negotiate the ability to add more slots at some point in the future when the property has matured.

Fees for new slots must be reasonable, however, Currier said.

“If another (tribal casino) open for 10 years is willing to pay more, we wouldn’t be able to afford it at this time.”

Slots have start-up costs and may only be profitable during peak weekend periods, he said. And competition has intensified.

The Rincon casino is within a 20 mile radius of five tribal casinos — the most dense casino market in California.

“It used to be, ‘Build it and they will come,’ ” Currier said. “Conditions have changed. You really have to go out and find new customers. It’s very difficult to get existing casino customers to go to your casino.”

The fact that three California tribes with significant Las Vegas connections have joined the coalition isn’t a coincidence, he added.

“The tribes in this coalition are business-minded tribes,” he said. “They didn’t enter into agreements with expert licensed operators coincidentally.”

On the other hand, many other tribes — whether they belong to the coalition or not — can’t support additional slots because they lack the demand, Dickstein said.

Only about a dozen gaming tribes will likely ask for slot increases to accommodate gamblers, he said.

That means Gov. Davis is unlikely to raise the kind of revenue he wants to help plug the state’s budget deficit — unless he allows tribes to build future casinos away from rural, tribal land and in urban areas that can attract more customers, he said.

Gov. Davis remains opposed to urban casinos. But that may change, Dickstein said.

“I think closing the budget deficit may be a higher priority now than discouraging urban casinos,” he said. “It’s casinos near urban areas that can use profitably more than 2,000 machines and can afford any significant revenue-share on those machines.”

If tribes were to share 25 percent of their casino revenue — similar to a plan underway in New York — California would need to at least double the number of slot machines, he said.

Though doubling machines is unlikely, tribes of all sizes and affiliations appear interested in removing the state cap on slot machines to allow market forces to dictate how many machines their casinos can have, Dickstein said.

Major Las Vegas companies — after fighting an initial effort to legalize tribal casinos in California — have more recently expressed interest in striking management contracts with tribes.

Still, the investment prospects for local companies have diminished as tribes ink deals with management entrepreneurs based outside Nevada, experts say.

Many of California’s gaming tribes already have established relationships with investors and are inundated with offers from others, said Jerry Turk, owner of the management company for the tribal Pala Casino near San Diego.

Linda Roe, vice president of business development for Las Vegas casino developer Marnell Corrao Associates and a tribal gaming expert, says opportunities still exist for management companies that are willing to try harder to form lasting relationships and make a long-term commitment to the well-being of the tribe.

“They’re being careful,” Roe said of the tribes. Some savvy tribes don’t need help. But the ones that do are looking for companies they can develop long-term partnerships with rather than for firms looking to turn a quick buck.

Harrah’s Rincon Casino — which opened last August with 1,500 slots, 200 hotel rooms and six restaurants — is perhaps the most well-known example of a Las Vegas company partnering with an Indian tribe.

Harrah’s hasn’t said whether it expects to expand the resort, deferring instead to tribal leaders. But company spokesman Gary Thompson said it’s possible given the property’s better-than-expected casino performance and hotel occupancy rates in the mid to high 90s.

Station Casinos expects to earn more than $25 million a year for managing the Thunder Valley Casino for the Auburn tribe. Thunder Valley — expected to open in June with up to 1,900 slots, 100 table games, a bingo room and a VIP gambling area — is able to accommodate up to 3,000 slots, Station Casinos executives say.

The neighborhood casino operator bought another 100 acres across from Thunder Valley and has an option to buy another 150 acres nearby. The company has declined to reveal plans for either site, such as whether it would build a hotel for gamblers.

Historically, the company has master-planned its locals’ casinos by buying up a significant amount of surrounding land that has since been developed into retail stores, theaters or hotel rooms.

Major Las Vegas operators including MGM MIRAGE, Park Place Entertainment Corp. and Boyd Gaming Corp. have expressed interest in pursing management contracts with Indian casinos.

MGM MIRAGE has been especially vocal about pursuing tribal relationships. The company last year hired a development chief with a pre-existing relationship with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians who serves as a design consultant for a new casino in downtown Palm Springs. It’s a limited and less-lucrative arrangement that doesn’t involve managing the casino and therefore doesn’t require federal approval.

Besides Harrah’s Rincon and Thunder Valley, two other California casinos have significant Las Vegas connections.

The Pala Casino made headlines when it became the first new permanent casino to open after the passage of a voter initiative in 2000 that allowed Las Vegas-style casinos in California. It also marked the first time a Nevada gaming company was brought in to invest in a tribal casino.

Turk, a former co-owner of Fitzgerald’s casino in downtown Las Vegas, brought in partner Anchor Gaming of Las Vegas to manage the casino. Before consummating its $1.4 billion merger with slot giant International Game Technology last year, Anchor announced it would sell its majority stake in Pala’s management company to Turk.

The Pala tribe — a member of the 21-tribe coalition — will also likely expand its 2,000-slot maximum if Gov. Davis’ revenue-sharing proposal makes economic sense, Turk said.

Adding slots ultimately dilutes the profits produced by existing machines, he said.

And because machines are replaced so often, it’s also difficult to identify which are new machines and therefore subject to the state’s potential revenue-sharing plan, he said.

In the meantime, the casino is anticipating a summer opening for a 507-room hotel, 30,000 square feet of meeting space and a spa.

“The whole objective is to create more of a destination (resort),” Turk said. “When we’re done we’ll have a property that’s equal in quality to anything in Las Vegas.”

Siren Gaming, a business unit of Marnell Corrao Associates pursuing Indian casino management deals, is running the Valley View Casino near San Diego for the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians. Siren’s team includes former executives of the Rio in Las Vegas. Its president, John Lipkowitz, was the general manager of the Rio when it was owned by design magnate Anthony Marnell.

Still, major Las Vegas companies — wary of the growth of Indian gaming in their largest drive-in market — have been slower to join the competition.

In most cases, business pitches to tribes aren’t coming from the nation’s gaming capital but from entrepreneurs across the nation who are trying to cash in on a windfall of gaming expansion, tribes say.

Coalition member Nicholas Fonseca, tribal chairman of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians in Northern California, has been inundated with calls and mailers from investors nationwide seeking a deal to manage, finance or otherwise help the tribe develop its upcoming casino.

“There are people trying to break into the industry,” Fonseca. Many are uneducated about Indian gaming law and believe that tribes can simply build casinos on non-tribal land without argument, he said.

The tribe already has inked a deal with Lakes Gaming, a Minnesota company controlled by Lyle Berman, the former president and chairman of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

The Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria Indians doesn’t even have a gaming compact with the state, much less a casino. But the tribe has a business deal with First Nation Gaming, a management company owned by the Tunica-Biloxi Indian tribe in Louisiana, that aims to help the tribe obtain land for a casino.

The tribe joined the coalition to “protect the interests of non-gaming tribes like ourselves and remove some of the market barriers” to casino development, tribal chairman Steve Santos said. The statewide cap on slot machines “prevents even small tribes like ourselves from entering gaming,” he said.

The Alturas Rancheria, which operates a small, 80-slot locals’ casino in the rural, northeast corner of California, says it isn’t looking to expand its machines to a number that would attract interest from Las Vegas investors.

The tribe likely won’t offer more than 350 slots, which could trigger a requirement that the tribe share its slot revenue with non-gaming tribes, tribal administrator Susie Hegsted said.

“We don’t have the market for that,” she said. “I think what the smaller tribes are looking for in these compact negotiations is to continue what the Governor wants, that (larger) tribes share the wealth with the smaller tribes” that can’t build casinos in more-lucrative areas, she said.

The small tribe still is receiving an increasing amount of mailers from investment groups and other companies nationwide seeking casino deals, she said.

< Gaming News

March 5, 2008 ORDER OF U.S. DISTRICT COURT IN RUMSEY INDIAN RANCHERIA OF WINTUN INDIANS OF CALIFORNIA vs. HOWARD DICKSTEIN

March 5, 2008

 

RUMSEY INDIAN RANCHERIA OF WINTUN INDIANS OF CALIFORNIA; RUMSEY GOVERNMENT PROPERTY FUND I, LLC; RUMSEY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION; RUMSEY TRIBAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION; RUMSEY MANAGEMENT GROUP; AND RUMSEY AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, PLAINTIFFS,
v.


HOWARD DICKSTEIN; JANE G. ZERBI; DICKSTEIN & ZERBI; DICKSTEIN & MERIN; ARLEN OPPER; OPPER DEVELOPMENT, LLC; METRO V PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY; CAPITAL CASINO PARTNERS I; MARK FRIEDMAN; FULCRUM MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC; FULCRUM FRIEDMAN MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC, DBA FULCRUM MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC; ILLINOIS PROPERTY FUND I CORPORATION; ILLINOIS PROPERTY FUND II CORPORATION; ILLINIOS PROPERTY FUND III CORPORATION; 4330 WATT AVENUE, LLC; AND DOES 1-100, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER

Plaintiffs move to remand this action to state court. Defendants Howard Dickstein, Jane G. Zerbi, Distein & Zerbi and Dickstein & Merin (“Defendants”) oppose the motion. Oral arguments on the motion were heard February 11, 2008. For the reasons stated, Plaintiffs’ motion is granted and the case is remanded to state court.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs filed this action in Superior Court of the State of California in the County of Yolo on October 9, 2007. Plaintiff Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians (“the Tribe”) is a sovereign Indian tribe who owns the Cache Creek Casino Resort. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 3(b).) Defendant Howard Dickstein (“Dickstein”) is the Tribe’s former attorney and Defendant Arlen Opper (“Opper”) is the Tribe’s former financial advisor. (Id. ¶ 2.) Plaintiffs allege that Opper and Dickstein “repeatedly involved the Tribe in complicated investments or transactions in which the business terms were more favorable to others than they were to the Tribe. Many such deals were fraught with self-dealing and conflicts of interest they failed to disclose.” (Id. ¶ 2.) Plaintiffs further allege that Opper collected fees for purportedly managing Tribal assets, without actually managing them[, and] Opper’s entire method and structure of compensation was an artifice created [by Opper and Dickstein] to avoid regulatory oversight of Opper’s management of an Indian-owned gaming facility, which was illegal without the prior approval of the National Indian Gaming Commission.

(Id. ¶ 7.) Plaintiffs’ Complaint comprises fourteen state law claims including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment and violation of the California Business and Professions Code Section 17200. (Id. at 34:21, 36:11, 40:13, 50:14, 52:2.)

On November 8, 2007, Defendants removed the action to this Court under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1446, arguing that federal question jurisdiction exists because the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. §§ 2701-2721, completely preempts Plaintiffs’ state law claims and because Plaintiffs’ claims raise substantial questions of federal law. (Notice of Removal ¶¶ 1, 2, 10.)

Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”) “to provide a statutory basis for the operation and regulation of gaming by Indian tribes.” Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 48 (1996). IGRA established the National Indian Gaming Commission (“NIGC”) to oversee gaming activities on tribal lands. 25 U.S.C. §§ 2704, 2706. IGRA permits tribes to enter into management contracts for the operation and management of their gaming facilities subject to the NIGC’s approval, which includes ensuring that the contracts provide minimum protection for the tribes. Id. § 2711. The NIGC also has the authority to hold a hearing and void any management contract that violates IGRA. Id. § 2711(f). NIGC regulations further establish that any management contract that is not approved by the NIGC is void. 25 C.F.R. § 533. Decisions by the NIGC are final agency actions for purposes of the Administrative Procedures Act and are appealable to a federal district court. 25 U.S.C. § 2714.

REMOVAL STANDARDS

“[A]ny civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by [] the defendants, to the district court [] for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The removal statute is strictly construed against removal jurisdiction, see Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992), and the party seeking removal “has the burden of establishing that removal [is] proper.” Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996). There is a “‘strong presumption’ against removal” with “any doubt” resolved in favor of remand. Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566.

Defendants’ removal is premised on allegations that federal question jurisdiction exists. To sustain removal on this basis, “a defendant [must establish] Plaintiff’s case ‘arises under’ federal law.” Franchise Tax Bd. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 10 (1983). “The presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint rule,’ which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff’s properly pleaded complaint . . . .” Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). “As the master of the complaint, a plaintiff may defeat removal by choosing not to plead independent federal claims.” ARCO Envtl. Remediation, L.L.C., v. Dep’t of Health & Envtl. Quality, 213 F.3d 1108, 1114 (9th Cir. 2000) (citing Caterpillar Inc., 482 U.S. at 399). However, “the artful pleading doctrine is a useful procedural sieve to detect traces of federal subject matter jurisdiction in a particular case,” through a determination of whether Plaintiffs have “artfully phrased a federal claim by dressing it in state law attire.” Lippitt v. Raymond James Fin. Servs., Inc., 340 F.3d 1033, 1042 (9th Cir. 2003). Even where the complaint does not indicate on its face that a case “arises under” federal law, jurisdiction may lie if “Congress . . . so completely pre-empt[s] a particular area that any civil complaint raising [Plaintiffs'] select group of claims is necessarily federal in character,” Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58, 63-64 (1987), or when the claims “turn on substantial questions of federal law.” Grable & Sons Metal Prods. Inc. v. Darue Eng’g & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 312 (2005).

ANALYSIS

I. Complete Preemption

Defendants argue that “IGRA provides a textbook example of an exclusive federal regulatory regime, sufficient to convert state claims, such as those advanced by the Tribe, into federal claims.” (Opp’n at 4:26-5:7 (citing Great W. Casinos, Inc. v. Morango Band of Mission Indians, 74 Cal. App. 4th 1407, 1428 (1999); Gaming Corp. of Am. v. Dorsey & Whitney, 88 F.3d 536, 543 (8th Cir. 1996)).) Defendants argue evidence of this exclusive federal regime is IGRA’s creation of the NIGC to monitor and investigate tribal gaming activity . . . . The NIGC Chairman is responsible for approving all Indian gaming management contracts pursuant to federal guidelines . . . . If the Chairman fails to act in a timely manner or a tribe wishes to appeal the Chairman’s decision, IGRA specifies the United States District Courts as the exclusive jurisdiction for relief.

(Opp’n at 5:17-22 (citing 25 U.S.C. §§ 2706, 2711, 2711(d), 2714).) Defendants argue Plaintiffs’ claims fall within the preemptive scope of IGRA because

 

 

Removal is proper under the complete preemption doctrine when “the federal statute[] at issue provide[s] the exclusive cause of action for the claim asserted and also set[s] forth procedures and remedies governing that cause of action.” Beneficial Nat’l Bank v. Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 8 (2003). “Complete preemption is rare.” ARCO Envtl. Remediation, 213 F.3d at 1115.

Defendants argue Plaintiffs’ claims are completely preempted by IGRA since they are based on an alleged management contract that has not been approved by the NIGC. (Opp’n at 1:9-2:4.) Defendants assert that Plaintiffs “seek[] to have a state court invalidate [Opper's consulting agreement] as an illegal contract under IGRA.” (Id. at 7:12-16.) However, Plaintiffs’ Complaint includes no such claim. Instead, the first and second claims are for breach of contract. (Compl. at 34:20-21, 36:10-12.) Similarly, Plaintiffs’ tenth cause of action for violation of California Business and Professions Code section 17200 (“section 17200″) alleges:

The Opper Defendants engaged in unfair, unlawful and/or fraudulent acts under [section 17200] by, inter alia, . . . (2) disguising illegal management of a gaming facility as management of the Tribe’s assets, and pursuant to that agreement, collecting as disguised “asset management” fees what were, in reality, casino management fees [and, therefore, t]he Tribe is entitled to restitution of all sums wrongfully held and/or obtained by [Defendants] as a result of the unlawful, unfair and fraudulent acts alleged above.

(Compl. ¶ 205.) Defendants argued at oral arguments that Plaintiffs’ prayer for restitution damages evinces that they are seeking to void the Opper agreement. “However, restitution is also available as a remedy to redress [state] statutory violations. And in a statutory action, rescission is not a prerequisite to granting restitution.” 1 B.E. Witkin, Summary of California Law (Contracts) § 1013 (10th ed. 2005) (citing a section 17200 action).

At this point it is unknown whether the Opper agreements at issue are unapproved management contracts and therefore are void. Even if the agreements are ultimately construed as void management contracts, they would be found to have never been valid contracts, and “only an attempt at forming . . . management contract[s]. If that is the case, then [Plaintiff's] suit in no way interferes with the regulation of a management contract because none ever existed.” Gallegos v. San Juan Pueblo Bus. Dev. Bd., Inc., 955 F. Supp. 1348, 1350 (D.N.M. 1997).

Not every contract that is merely peripherally associated with tribal gaming is subject to IGRA’s constraints . . . . For instance, in [Calumet Gaming Group-Kan., Inc. v. Kickapoo Tribe of Kan., 987 F. Supp. 1321, 1325 (D. Kan. 1997)], the court found that a dispute arising from a consulting agreement was not subject to IGRA and, consequently, there was no need to interpret or apply IGRA to resolve the plaintiff’s state law claims for breach of that agreement.

Casino Res. Corp. v. Harrah’s Entm’t, Inc., 243 F.3d 435, 439 (8th Cir. 2001) (citations omitted).

However, claims “which would interfere with [Plaintiffs'] ability to govern gaming [] fall within the scope of IGRA’s preemption of state law” because “Congress unmistakably intended that tribes play a significant role in the regulation of gaming.”*fn1 Gaming Corp., 88 F.3d at 549-50.

Defendants argue that Plaintiffs’ claims interfere with the Tribe’s “ability to govern gaming” because to address Plaintiffs’ breach of fiduciary duties, breach of contract, and violation of section 17200 claims, “the Court must first decide whether Opper’s agreement is subject to NIGC review as a management contract [and t]he meaning of ‘management’ under IGRA implicates tribal control over gaming activity because it provides a standard for subjecting [tribal contracting] decisions to NIGC approval.” (Opp’n at 8:10-18.)

This argument concerns fact-bound questions regarding the nature of the agreements at issue, and whether they are void management contracts, but it does not establish that these determinations interfere with the Tribe’s ability to govern gaming. “Congressional intent is the touchstone of the complete preemption analysis.” Magee v. Exxon Corp., 135 F.3d 599, 601 (8th Cir. 1998). “It is a stretch to say that Congress intended to preempt state law when there is no valid management contract for a federal court to interpret, when [Plaintiffs'] broad discretion . . . is not impeded, and when there is no threat to [Plaintiffs'] sovereign immunity or interests.” Casino Res. Corp., 243 F.3d at 440; see also Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians v. Oregon, 143 F.3d 481, 486 n.7 (9th Cir. 1998) (rejecting argument that IGRA entirely preempts a field including Oregon public records laws because “the application of [state public record laws] has no effect on the determination ‘of which gaming activities are allowed.'”) (citing S. Rep. No. 446, 100th Cong., 2d Sess. 6 (1988)).

Defendants also argue Mohawk Tribe supports their complete preemption position. In Mohawk Tribe, the Second Circuit held that it was without jurisdiction to issue “a declaration that the [] Contract is void for lack of contract approval by the Commission as required by IGRA” because the tribe failed to exhaust its administrative remedies. Mohawk Tribe, 451 F.3d at 50-51. In Mohawk Tribe, the Indian tribe filed a qui tam action seeking to void a contract under IGRA. But Plaintiffs’ claims do not seek to void the agreements. As Plaintiffs assert, Mohawk Tribe “is perhaps relevant to a defense on the merits as to whether a state (or federal) court can pass on the validity of a contract before NIGC has done so, but such provides no support for removal . . . .”*fn2 (Reply at 18:28-19:3.)

For the reasons stated, Defendants have not shown that IGRA completely preempts Plaintiffs’ claims.

II. Substantial Question of Federal Law

Defendants also contend that removal is appropriate because Plaintiffs’ “complaint presents a [substantial] question of federal law on which many of its claims depend: what does ‘management’ mean for purposes of applying IGRA?” (Opp’n at 11:19-20.) The gist of Defendants’ position follows:

By arguing that Opper’s agreement should be voided as an unapproved management contract, the Tribe necessarily raises a federal question that must be resolved before the Court can decide state law claims for breach of contract (Count 2), breach of fiduciary duties by Opper and Dickstein (Counts 4 and 5), and unjust enrichment by Opper (Count 11).

The Tribe cannot recover for breach of contract without demonstrating the existence of a valid contract. . . . Similarly, the fiduciary duties owed by Opper to the Tribe will vary depending upon the nature and legal force of their agreement . . . . Moreover, the availability of the Tribe’s requested relief for the fiduciary claims – disgorgement – will depend upon how the Court characterizes Opper’s agreement. . . . Finally, it is unclear that the Tribe can recover for unjust enrichment based upon a contract rendered illegal by the absence of NIGC approval. (Opp’n at 12:16-13:15 (citations omitted).) Plaintiffs reply that those claims do not allege or seek recovery for any IGRA violation and, therefore, do not raise illegality of the Opper agreement as an essential element.*fn3 (Reply at 15:1-18.)

Defendants argue “the [general allegations section of the] Complaint contains extensive allegations concerning Opper’s management of gaming activity” and since Plaintiffs’ state law claims incorporate all of the allegations into each cause of action, “the Tribe necessarily raises a federal question” as an element of their state law claims.*fn4 (Opp’n at 3:2-20, 12:16-18.) The Ninth Circuit rejected such an argument in Duncan v. “Footsie Wootsie Machine Rentals”, stating that the plaintiff’s incorporation by reference of a general allegation that she owned the trademark to “Footsie Wootsie” did not provide a basis for substantial federal question jurisdiction since the state law claim was not necessarily based on the misappropriation of the federal trademark. 76 F.3d 1480, 1488 n.11 (9th Cir. 1995).

Federal question removal jurisdiction exists where a state law claim “necessarily raise[s] a stated federal issue, actually disputed and substantial, which a federal forum may entertain without disturbing any congressionally approved balance of federal and state jurisdictional responsibilities.” Grable & Sons Metal Prods. Inc., 545 U.S. at 314. “When a claim can be supported by alternative and independent theories — one of which is a state law theory and one of which is a federal law theory — federal question jurisdiction does not attach because federal law is not a necessary element of the claim.” Rains v. Criterion Sys., Inc., 80 F.3d 339, 346 (9th Cir. 1996). “While [Defendants] may defend against the state law claims by arguing that [they fail because the agreements are void under the federal IGRA], this answer is a defense to [Plaintiffs'] claimed right, not an element of [Plaintiffs'] state law cause of action.” ARCO Envtl Remediation, 213 F.3d at 1116. Thus, the issue is whether Plaintiffs’ right to relief arises out of a necessary, substantial and “disputed issue of federal law,” Bennett v. Southwest Airlines Co., 484 F.3d 907, 909 (7th Cir. 2007); it is not enough that Plaintiffs’ right to relief could fail because of a Defendant’s defense based on federal law. “In the main, a claim ‘arises under’ the law that creates the cause of action.” Id. at 909.

The unjust enrichment claim against Opper can be supported simply by showing that he failed “to reimburse the Tribe for his personal use of aircraft in which the Tribe possessed rights of use.” (Compl. ¶ 211.) The obligation to reimburse the tribe appears to have arisen from tribal policies, completely independent from any contract that Opper made with the Tribe. “Pursuant to the Tribe’s policies, the Tribal Council permitted . . . Dickstein and Opper to use the NetJets aircraft for personal trips for 10 hours per year as long as they reimbursed the Tribe for half the trip’s hourly rate.” (Compl. ¶ 128.) Thus, the unjust enrichment claim can be supported by alternative and independent state law theories.

Nor has it been shown that Plaintiffs’ breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties and unjust enrichment claims arise under a necessary federal question of IGRA law. Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim arises out of state contractual rights. Similarly, Plaintiffs’ breach of fiduciary duties claims arise out of the duties Defendants owe the tribe as their lawyers, agents and managers, not out of any right created by federal law.*fn5 (Compl. ¶¶ 157, 165.) Therefore, Defendants have not shown that the substantial federal question doctrine supports removal jurisdiction.

CONCLUSION

For the reasons stated, Plaintiffs’ motion to remand is granted and the Clerk of the Court shall remand this action to the Yolo County Superior Court.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Rumsey Indian Rancheria vs. Howard Dickstein — Tentative Rulings in Yolo Superior Court Case No CV 07-2200 (lesliebrodie@in.com)

Correction: Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians / Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation

In our report “State Bar of California Board of Governors Asked to Probe Alleged Irregularities Surrounding Public Member Jeannine English and Spouse — Tribal Gambling Attorney Howard Dickstein.” (See http://tinyurl.com/jeannineenglish ) , we erroneously referred to the tribe which operate the Cache Creek Casino as the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians.

In fact, the term “Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians” is no longer in use.  Instead, the tribe is now known as the “Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.”

We apologise to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation for the confusion  caused by our report.

For more information, please visit  www.yochadehe.org

Senator Obama Fundraiser | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Media_httpfarm2static_fnhhj

Senator Barack Obama addresses a rather small group of people at the Law Offices of Howard Dickstein and Mark Friedman in Sacramento, California. 8/08/07

State Bar of California Board of Governors Asked to Probe Alleged Irregularities Sorrounding Public Member Jeannine English as TLR Visits the Principality of Monaco

Monaco — a sovereign city state on the Côte d’Azur (French Riviera). Located in Monaco is the city of Monte Carlo — widely known for its casino and the Monaco Grand Prix, a Formula One race held each year on the Circuit de Monaco. In a civil action filed against Attorney Howard Dickstein, spouse of State Bar of California BOG member Jeannine English, it was alleged Dickstein engaged in “a course of dealing that involved breaches of trust and violations of duties of the most basic, and, indeed, sacred kind.” Including, but not limited to, using the client’s plane for personal trips to the south of France, Big Sur and Grand Prix events in Monte Carlo and Montreal for which he owes the client $1.2 million. (Photo:courtesy of germanexotics.com)

With an unclear agenda, demoralized, and a looming election, the State Bar of California Board of Governors now faces the unpleasant prospect of probing one of its own.

The Leslie Brodie Report has learned the Board of Governors (“BOG”) has been asked to investigate alleged irregularities surrounding public member Jeannine English and her spouse — tribal gambling attorney Howard Dickstein.

 

Ms. Jeannine English, public member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors. Loyal to her name, Ms. English drives BMFQ Aston Martin. Howard Dickstein, discerning and discriminating, is a devotee of Ferraris. Ms. English was named a public member of the State Bar Board of Governors in 2006 by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.

In addition, the BOG was asked to inquire about a $900,000.00 cy pres award involving Girardi & Keese and the California wing of the AARP, where Ms. English serves as president. According to confidential sources, State Bar establishment was shocked by the scope and magnitude of the revelations.

The underlying events involve the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians (“Rumsey”) which consists of 40 adult members who reside in Brooks, California. Attorney Howard Dickstein, a pioneer in tribal gambling law and the spouse of Ms. English, helped dig the tribe out of poverty. From a fledgling bingo business to what is now a thriving establishment known as “Cache Creek Casino.”

In and about 2007, and in addition to the services offered by Mr. Dickstein, Ms. Jeanine English and her company — Jeanine English & Associates — were also conducting business with Rumsey, by which lobbying and consulting services were purveyed by Ms. English.

Toward the end of 2007, Rumsey — represented by Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy — filed a suit in Yolo County Superior Court against Howard Dickstein and Jane Zerbi of Dickstein & Zerbi and Arlen Opper, a financial consultant, accusing them of unjustly enriching themselves with tribal money by defrauding the tribe of millions of dollars over more than a decade

 

.

Mr. Elliot Peters of Keker & Van Nest. Presently,Peters, along with partners John Keker and Jan Little (spouse of Prof. Rory Little),are in the midst of fighting a RICO suit filed by Chevron against attorney Steven Donziger. Peters also represents Lance Armstrong who demands an on-air apology from “60 Minutes.” (photo: courtesy amlawdaily.typepad.com)

In statements to the media, Howard Dickstein referred to the allegations as a “pack of lies,” while disparaging his client. Dickstein also stated that he plans to fight the suit and “fight hard.”  Appearing on behalf of defendant Dickstein was Elliot Peters of Keker & Van Nest.

In addition, and according to the sources, the BOG was also asked to inquire about a plan by which a cy pres amount of $900,000 will be funneled to the AARP of California from a class action in which the law offices of Girardi & Keese serves as counsel. (Attridge v. Visa Case No. CGC-04-436920).

Jeanine English serves as the President of the AARP’s California branch, and is also involved with the AARP on a national level. According to the sources, while the sums will not go directly to Ms. English, they will indirectly benefit her vis-a-vis the associated prestige resulting from successful fund raising efforts.

Hence, the sources maintain, the lack of disclosure regarding the proposed cy pres is alarming, especially considering events relating to the State Bar’s handling of grave misconduct by Girardi & Keese in the Dole matter, and subsequent events involving Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk and Douglas Winthrop.

State Bd. of Education v. Honig, Jeannine English, Howard Dickstein in Big Mystery of Little Hoover Commission

Check out this website I found at law.justia.com

On October 15, 1990, following consultation among Board President Dr. Joseph Carrabino, Board member Joseph Stein, and the Superintendent, the Department entered into a legal services contract with Howard Dickstein, an attorney who had previously worked with the Little Hoover Commission on educational issues.

Jeannine English — Howard Dickstein’s spouse, served as the Executive Director of the Little Hoover Commission.

Howard Dickstein — Prominent tribal attorney sued by former client for fraud — Union-Tribune Newsblog

Prominent tribal attorney sued by former client

SACRAMENTO — One of California’s most successful Indian gambling tribes has accused its former counsel, prominent tribal attorney Howard Dickstein, of fraud and self-dealing in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Yolo County.

“This lawsuit is about greed and betrayal,” declares the 57-page complaint filed by attorneys for the Rumsey band, which operates one of the state’s largest casinos with 3,100 slot machines in the remote Capay Valley northwest of Sacramento.

The 40-member tribe alleged that Dickstein and it’s former financial advisor, Arlen Opper, “placed their own interests and the interests of others ahead of the tribe’s” in complicated investments and business deals “fraught with self-dealing and conflicts of interest.”

“In the final analysis, the tribe’s former trusted counsel and investment advisor literally fed off the tribe’s financial success, or allowed others to do so, without the tribal council’s knowledge and approval,” the suit alleges.

Dickstein, who also represents the Pala band of San Diego County, helped deliver Rumsey from poverty during 20 years as its attorney. He was abruptly fired last year, not long after a new chairman was elected. He portrayed the lawsuit as “political payback” by opponents in the small tribe.

Dickstein said he helped Rumsey grow from “less than $100,000 in assets and a tilt-up bingo hall” to a diverse economic empire with “assets in excess of $1 billion.”

“It’s extremely hurtful … after all these years of good faith and dedication, to be faced with a pack of lies,” Dickstein said, promising a countersuit. “We will fight back and fight back hard.”

- James P. Sweeney, Copley News Service

Posted by Michael Smolens | 05:30 PM

Monday, July 16, 2007 –Source: MetNews– State Bar Board Member Jeannine English Named to Head California AARP

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

 

Monday, July 16, 2007

 

Page 3

 

State Bar Board Member Named to Head California AARP

 

By a MetNews Staff Writer

 

Jeannine English, a public member of the State Bar Board of Governors, has been appointed California state president of the American Association of Retired Persons, the organization said in a release.

“We are thrilled to have Jeannine as our new state president,” a spokesperson said Thursday. “She brings a depth and breadth of experience that will greatly benefit AARP’s more than 3 million California members.”

Prior to her appointment, English served for two years on AARP’s National Policy Council, an advisory committee to the AARP National Board of Directors.

English, 53, was named to the State Bar board last year by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. She had a long tenure in state government, including more than 10 years as executive director of the Little Hoover Commission, which investigates state government operations with the aim of improving their efficiency, economy and service to the public.

She also served as assistant executive director of the California Transportation Commission.

As volunteer state president, English will lead the AARP’s California Executive Council and work in partnership with the state director and in collaboration with other volunteers and staff to achieve AARP’s strategic priorities in California, the group said.

English, who has a master’s degree in business administration from Golden Gate University, has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of KVIE, Inc. Public Television, as vice-president of the Jewish Family Services of Sacramento, and as financial auditor for the state departments of Finance and Health Services.

In January of last year, English formed her own consulting firm, Jeannine English & Associates, which has provided consulting services to various clients, including the Rumsey Indian Rancheria and the California Small Business Association.

 She is married to Sacramento attorney Howard Dickstein, who represents a number of Indian tribes with gaming operations in the state.

 

Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company

Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians sues former Howard Dickstein — Spouce of BOG member Jeannine English

Gaming News

Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians sues former advisers

10 October 2007

WOODLAND, California — (PRESS RELEASE) — The Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians today sued its former long-time general counsel, a former financial adviser, and others for unjustly enriching themselves with Tribal assets through fraud, civil conspiracy, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and several other causes of action.

The lawsuit names as defendants Sacramento attorneys Howard Dickstein and his partner, Jane Zerbi; their law firms; Arlen Opper, a former Tribal investment adviser; as well as other parties.

Filed in Yolo County Superior Court, the suit seeks both punitive and compensatory damages, as well as restitution for millions of dollars in Tribal assets “wrongfully obtained or held” by the defendants.

“This lawsuit is about greed and betrayal,” are the opening words of the complaint. It goes on to state that the defendants “took actions, and engaged in a course of dealing, that involved breaches of trust and violations of duties of the most basic and, indeed, sacred kind.”

The Tribe’s suit notes that that even as Dickstein and Opper held themselves out as Rumsey’s most trusted advisers, they repeatedly “placed their own interests, or the interests of others, ahead of the Tribe’s.”

The filing states that despite their positions of trust and confidence, and their duties of undivided loyalty and fidelity owed to the Tribe, they took actions designed “to enrich themselves, or others, at the Tribe’s expense.”

Shortly after their 2006 election, the new Tribal Council, including Tribal Chairman Marshall McKay, hired an outside investigative firm to conduct a forensic accounting investigation of the Tribe’s business affairs.

The Council terminated Dickstein and Opper when the investigation uncovered questionable actions that were widespread and disturbing.

“We knew something was very wrong and that they were taking advantage of us,” said McKay. “We were determined to take control of our business to protect our sovereignty and the future of our Tribe. Now we will let the legal process take its course.”

The suit states that:

- Dickstein and Opper involved the Tribe in investments and transactions in which the business terms were more favorable to others than to the Tribe. Many of these deals “were fraught with self dealing and conflicts of interest they failed to disclose.”

- Opper cut himself into various deals without any disclosure to the Tribal Council. The suit also states that Opper collected management fees for purportedly managing Tribal assets, without actually managing certain of them.

- Dickstein used or allowed others to use Tribal assets for personal purposes without reimbursement or proper approval. This included use of airplanes for which the Tribe had purchased rights of use and a Sacramento loft.

- Dickstein and Opper resisted informing the Tribal Council of the full extent of their compensation, even when specifically asked.

- Dickstein failed to render a proper accounting of a $9 million attorney-client trust account funded by the Tribe and maintained by Dickstein’s firm for payment of client expenses.

“In the final analysis, the Tribe’s former trusted counsel and investment adviser literally fed off the Tribe’s financial success, or allowed others to do so, without the Tribal Council’s knowledge and approval,” the suit states.

The complaint underscores the egregious nature of the defendants’ misdeeds by recounting the “meteoric” economic success story of the Rumsey Band, a small Indian tribe that not long ago “lived in relative poverty in substandard housing on a remote parcel of reservation land with little hope for advancement or economic development.”

The advent of Indian gaming virtually overnight thrust the Tribe and its members into the complexities of big business and finance, charged with operating a casino that not only generates revenue for the Tribe, but that also is widely considered an “economic engine” for all of Yolo County.

“If ever members of this historically impoverished Tribe needed the guidance of their trusted advisors in matters of law and finance, it was then,” the complaint states. “That, however, was not what they received.”

< Gaming News

What a Day — Howard Dickstein and his wife, Jeannine English — 82 Ferraris on parade

Categories

RSS .

  • Hundred grand meeting canceled this afternoon… 2014/09/13
    Our little bird informed us this afternoon that the senior leadership of the ‘judicial council staff offices’ pooled together their brain cells just enough to release some cranial flatulence. They decided that having everyone travel to hear a consultant speak in Sacramento for one hour was probably not the best use of public funds.   […]
    Judicial Council Watcher
  • The one hour judicial council meeting that costs a hundred grand? 2014/09/10
    Thanks to a little bird we just found out about a one hour meeting on September 16th in Sacramento that requires the attendance of all managers and supervisors in the judicial council’s staff offices statewide. This is a mandatory attendance meeting meaning wherever you are at, Burbank, San Francisco, etc you must make arrangements to […]
    Judicial Council Watcher
  • Will California government ever stop using the poor as a piggybank? 2014/09/09
    One of the things we like to call public attention to from time to time is the outlandish fines and fees imposed via changes in the law. To fund court construction court security and other court programs, fines and fees were skyrocketed and keep on going up. Side deals between individual courts and their former […]
    Judicial Council Watcher
  • New Administrative Director Has Strong Credentials in State Government 2014/09/03
    As you recall from yesterday’s message from Alliance President, Judge Steve White, Martin Hoshino has been named the new Administrative Director of the Courts. The following article by Courthouse News reporter, Maria Dinzeo, provides some additional background on the appointment and on Mr. Hoshino’s past association with Judge White. We are optimistic that M […]
    Judicial Council Watcher
  • Martin Hoshino named new administrative director of the Judicial Council 2014/09/03
    Martin Hoshino was named by the the Judicial Council as the new Administrative Director of the recently rebranded judicial council staff, a juggernaut of over 800 employees, nearly a quarter of which are highly paid managers or above. Mr. Hoshino comes from the CDCR or the California Department of Corrections and (don’t laugh) Rehabilitation, an […]
    Judicial Council Watcher

RSS Drudge Report Feed

.