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Exclusive: New Surveillance Video in Chukchansi Feud

Exclusive new surveillance video shows the events that lead up to the stand off at Chukchansi Casino on Oct. 9.

Inside the casino, the slot machines are now gone, and the casino is dark.

Friday was the first time Nancy Ayala, co-chair of the Lewis/Ayala faction of the Chukchansi tribe, had seen it that way.

“It’s disheartening. I didn’t know that all the machines would be moved off property. It’s going to take a lot of work to get things up and running again,” Ayala says.

Rival factions of the Chukchansi tribe have been feuding over leadership since 2011. But more recently, casino staff say several events led up to the violent attempted takeover last month.

They show us new surveillance video from Sept. 8. where they say members of the Tex McDonald faction broke in to a butler building on casino property.

“There were servers damaged, video surveillance was damaged, windows were broken, doors were pried open,” says Steven Carrillo, chief of tribal police for the Lewis/Ayala faction.

Casino staff says the video shows many members of the McDonald security staff breaking in, including Tyrone Bishop, one of the suspects currently in the Madera County Jail.

More video, from the day after the raid, shows when members of the McDonald faction removed files from the gaming commission office.

Dyann Eckstein is the tribal gaming commission chairwoman, appointed by the Lewis/Ayala faction. She says in the video, Vernon King and others members of the McDonald faction are removing files that contain sensitive employee data that includes, “Actual photocopy of their driver’s license, birth certificates, social security card, any naturalization documents, passports.

Surveillance video in the hallway shows several men carrying out boxes, computers and machines. Casino staff say Miguel Ramos, who’s also behind bars, can also be seen in that video.

The casino was under threat of closure by the National Indian Gaming Commission because of missing audits.

Members of the McDonald faction have said they went in to recover that information.

They’ve been asking about missing money, saying an audit shows millions unaccounted for.

The casino’s chief financial officer, Larry King, provided a written statement that says, in part, the fund deficit of “$49.6 million is the net accumulation of net income and net losses incurred by the property over the years since its inception.”

Eckstein says she believes the real reason McDonald members removed files was to establish themselves and provide information to the National Indian Gaming Commission. 

“But really it was just an attempt to create some kind of a mask of legitimacy that is not factually true,” Eckstein says.

McDonald, King, Bishop and Ramos were in Madera County Court briefly Friday morning. They’ll be back in court December 17 for a preliminary hearing.

Full statement from Larry King, Chief Financial Officer of Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino:

“The Fund Deficit for Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino (CGRC) as of December, 31, 2013 of $49.6 million is the net accumulation of net income and net losses incurred by the property over the years since its inception.

When a company records a profit, the amount of the profit, less any dividends paid to stockholders, is recorded in retained earnings, which is an equity account. When a company records a loss, this too is recorded in retained earnings. If the amount of the loss exceeds the amount of profit previously recorded in the retained earnings account, then a company is said to have negative retained earnings.

Since CGRC is a government entity, the negative retained earnings is called a fund deficit. It is also referred to as the “Net Position” as it is called in our annual financial statements that were filed with the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). Fund Deficit is an accounting term and in no way indicates fraudulent activity or ‘missing cash’.”

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