Speaking Rock Entertainment Center, operated by the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (Tigua Tribe) in El Paso, Texas has reportedly been offering some form of gaming at their nightclub and bar. The state says the facility is in violation of a court order barring them from providing certain types of games. Reversing a decision by the Tribal Council in June to bar the state police from entering the complex clandestinely, the tribe has now agreed to allow investigators to enter the gaming center and record their inspection of the facilities.
Judge Kathleen Cardone issued an order late last week concluding that the state has yet to provide any proof that the tribe is in violation of a court order. Judge Cardone denied motions for a preliminary injunction as well as a motion to hold the tribe in contempt, citing a lack of evidence.
While ruling in the tribe’s favor, Cardone also stated that the inspection of Speaking Rock could provide new information in regard to the activities of the tribe. If new information is found, Cardone told the state to create a new claim instead of keeping the current lawsuit running, a filing that began back in 1999.
The El Paso Times first reported the order by Cardone which included the judge telling the state that they would be better situated to produce evidence of contempt or other violations after a physical inspection of the facility if such evidence does exist.
The state Attorney General’s office has been trying to make a case against the tribe for well over a decade, having shut the facilities down in 2002 along with a gaming center operated by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe near Livingston. The Alabama-Coushatta are not a party to current litigation between the Tigua and Texas and they opened a Class II gaming center again last year.
In June the Tribal Council passed an ordinance in response to their belief that Texas State Police Officers were entering the facility undercover and secretly recording activities there, in what the tribe determined to be a violation of their sovereignty. The ordinance required government officials including police, as well as media representatives, to gain permission before entering any reservation property frequented by the general public.
Before the original lawsuit was filed in 1999, Speaking Rock operated a successful gaming center since opening Speaking Rock in 1993. However, they fell into the snare of disgraced former lobbyist and George W. Bush and Grover Norquist associate, Jack Abramoff, who was largely responsible for ‘The Mess in Texas‘ that left a single tribe to operate the lone Class III gaming facility in a state with 27 million residents.