Back in the early 2000s, I was a party to a couple of short-lived and ill-conceived lawsuits brought by Leona Williams' Pinoleville Tribal Council.
Both of these were related to my election to the Interim Council by the General Membership after a vote of no-confidence in the Williams Council.
The first of these suits was brought, ridiculously enough, in the County of Mendocino. In case it isn't obvious, one of the cardinal rules of operating a Nation is to never give authority to a judge representing a County or State Court of another Nation. In any event, I was one of the John Does accused of interfering in a business deal between Pinoleville and some party that was attempting to sell a bunch of outdated satellite equipment.
I did interfere. I made some phone calls in an attempt to determine the nature of this deal. The problem with the lawsuit is that at the time I made these calls, the Interim Council was recognized by the then-acting Deputy, now Regional Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Pacific Regional office.
Amy Dutschke was filling in at the time for Ronald Jaeger. As soon as Jaeger returned, he overruled this recognition of our Election. This is likely very important as we believe that we did everything by the book regarding that Interim Council. The record shows that the BIA reps missed several key deadlines established in the Code of Federal Regulations during the process, many of which should have ended the ordeal, supporting our Interim Council.
This brings me to the second of the two suits. I was served by a non-Indian woman that I later learned was the wife of Leona's attorney, Sam Goodhope. She smiled as she served me my papers for a RICO case in Federal Court. Goodhope was accusing myself and the other members of the Interim Council of Mail Fraud and Impersonating a Government Official. This was based on our completely appropriate and entirely official letter to the membership documenting the results of the very-legal Special Meeting.
I quickly educated myself on the reality of facing RICO charges in Federal Court. I have to admit that it was somewhat stressful.
It seems that the real key to a racketeering charge is the existence of an “enterprise” that participates in the pattern of illegality.
It was during these years, around 2002/2003 that I first came across the name of Michael Canales. His name may have come up around the strange antique satellite deal. If I recall correctly, he is a contractor out of La Jolla or Escondido. He is not an Indian person. I am curious to know the story of how he ended up on the Island of Misfit Toys that is the Williams version of the former Pinoleville Indian Community.
I also find it interesting that Canales is the owner of “Caught,” the hapless nightclub across North State Street from the proposed casino site. The online minutes of the October 2009 minutes of the Ukiah Valley Democratic Club indicate that Canales had plans to help local Native youth to avoid drug and alcohol issues by opening a nightclub/hofbrau. Sounds brilliant, right? Apparently, the Dems are cool with the plan as he has invited them to hold their meetings at “Caught.”
My sense of irony is bursting on this one folks.
I don't know who makes me more sick at this point — Canales, Williams, the BIA and my Ex are currently in a 4-way tie for last.
Both lawsuits were subsequently cancelled by Leona's representation. They were only nuisance suits in the first place. File under: harassment of political opponents and misuse of the courts.
Back in April of 2004, when Canales was still relatively new on the scene and Tribal Attorney Goodhope's black little heart had recently exploded, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, led by Nor-Cal's premier Hoopa-Oompa-Loompa Dale Risling, Jr held a Kafkaesque Membership Meeting that pounded the final crooked nails into the coffin of my tribal membership.
It's never been made clear to me who truly funded this 2004 farce. All I know is that somebody with deep pockets paid to fly to Ukiah anybody with a pulse who might have standing in Pinoleville and could be convinced to run off other members of long-standing. They were put up at the Hampton Inn and offered a rehearsal of the next day's meeting in order to work out the inevitable kinks of a kangaroo court.
Despite all of this planning, the minutes of the meeting show these fools “seconding emotions” and participating in a circus that finally removed many from the membership while adding a few corpses and out-of-state Indians for good measure. Risling signed off on this.
So, is it an enterprise?
Government staffers, tribal council-members, developers and law firms (hello Monteau $ Peebles!) apparently conspiring to corrupt the eligibility requirements of a tribe for the purposes of a casino project sounds pretty fishy to me. Frivolous lawsuits, death threats to myself, and the inevitable mismanagement and mingling of funds in the pursuit of these activities seem to merit an investigation.
I believe that there was an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General. I wonder what they ultimately didn't find.
All I want for Crowleymas is a forensic audit of the last 12 years of the Pinoleville Indian Community aka The Pinoleville Nation of Pomo Indians aka Canales-Williamsville aka Caught!: The Casino.
Careful observers will note that Canales has a problem keeping the bar open at all, in addition to some lapses in paying property taxes. I guess the nightclub/sushi/hofbrau/teen center concept wasn't such a winner. No biggie, it's all a ruse to keep a liquor license available for Leona.
So...who has the pockets deep enough to turn loose the forces of justice on this crew of jokers?
All we need is a former US Attorney to roll the clock back a decade and check the BIA’s performance supporting Leona Williams' Scheme Team.