Tribe seeks $527,000 from former casino management company

Rapid City, South Dakota (AP) 3-08

A tribal court ruled for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in a long-standing dispute with BBC Entertainment, which managed the tribe’s casino south of Mission from 1994 to 1999, and now the tribe will try to recover a $527,000 judgment.

Earlier, a tribal judge had sided with BCC Entertainment, owned by former tribal President Charles Colombe. The tribe then appealed to the Tribal Supreme Court, which granted a new trial.

The Tribal Supreme Court appointed Special Judge B.J. Jones, who presides in the Sisseton/Wahpeton Tribal Court, to hear the case.

In October, Jones ordered BBC Entertainment to pay the tribe $527,000, including interest.

At the time, Colombe said the ruling was politically motivated and came on the eve of his run for tribal vice president – which he lost to another former tribal president, William “Willie” Kindle.

In December, the court denied BBC Entertainment’s request for a new trial, said tribal attorney Dana Hanna.

He said BBC had 30 days to file a notice of appeal to the Tribal Supreme Court after the December ruling but did not. That means it cannot appeal to the federal court system because the federal Indian Gaming Act and the management contract says the company first must exhaust all tribal court remedies, according to Hanna.

Failing to appeal the December ruling means BBC did not exhaust all its tribal court remedies, he said.

“The next step is the tribe will try to recover the money,” Hanna said.

The tribe now manages the casino.

Last fall, Colombe said the judge in the case disregarded five years of casino audits that were done by tribal auditors. And he said Jones used an improper accounting system to determine his findings.