Tribal council members have been cleared of allegations they improperly received free meals and show passes to the tribe's Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City. The National Indian Gaming Commission issued a notice of violation against the tribe a year ago and followed up with a proposed $10,000 fine. Last June it alleged that council members improperly received more than $138,000 in complimentary meals and free admission to special events. Gambling revenues are to provide money for social programs and other tribal needs, commissioners said. Tribal officials appealed, saying allegations were unfounded and no one violated any regulations or laws involving "complimentary items.'' Tribal members who serve on a separate board of directors for the casino. were entitled to receive limited "complimentary items'' to market the casino and maintain tribal visibility in the operation, an attorney Craig Dorsay said. The Tribal Gaming Commission - which does not include tribal councilors or casino board members - concluded in its own audit that tribal council members did not violate tribal, state or federal laws or regulations, Dorsay said. NIGC since has reached a settlement with the tribe and dropped its proposed fine. As a result of the settlement, the tribe adopted policies and procedures "designed to prevent abuses."
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