MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) —
The Chukchansi Hotel and the Casino have been shut down for nearly ten months due to political squabbles within the Chukchansi Tribe. But hopes are being raised the Indian casino in Madera County will soon re-open.
The new chief operation officer Christian Goode told Action News, “We are excited because this is kind of the first step in reenergizing this facility and bringing back the economic engine that it was.”
The first step Goode is talking about is a job fair, aimed at restoring the more than 1,000 jobs lost when the casino shut down due to a violent dispute over tribal leadership last year. Goode hopes to reopen in early September. The job fair held on Tuesday has raised hopes for former employees, like Ruby Peterson who worked here for nine years.
“It looks really good right now so I’m positive and I’m going to stay that way,” said Peterson. “I’m not going to let anybody’s negativity get in the way.”
But reality may get in the way. While interim tribal chairman Reggie Lewis ordered the job fair, the rival tribal chairperson, Monica Davis says a September opening date is not likely.
“I believe that Mr. Lewis is holding this job fair pre-emptively,” said Davis. “I think it’s too soon right now for him to be having a job fair, not to say the casino won’t open its just we have a federal court case we are still in the process of adjusting.”
The case isn’t scheduled to be heard for another year. A tribal election is set for early October, which could determine who’s actually in charge, and then agreements need to be reached with Madera County, the State and the Federal Government. Despite all that, Goode believes the casino will be back in business soon.
“Very confident, we are very confident it’s going to happen in early September,” said Goode.
Dana Avery, a former housekeeper at the hotel is hoping this job fair was not a waste of time.
“Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will get a call.”
|Chowchilla News Day
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