The California Gambling Control Commission cannot release the Alturas Indian Rancheria's gaming funds in accordance with an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) levy, a federal judge ordered, reported Turtle Talk. The state had voted to release the funds to the IRS without the tribe's consent, purportedly to pay an outstanding debt.
The Alturas Indian Rancheria then filed a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent the commission from releasing the funds, which are held in trust for the tribe, to the IRS.
The federal judge determined the state's action violated the Class III gaming compact and the tribe's sovereignty. "There is a public interest in the collection, by the IRS, of unpaid taxes. However, the court finds that the public’s interest in respecting tribal sovereignty and in honoring the state-tribal compact outweighs that interest," Karlton wrote in his decision to grant the TRO, reported Indianz.com.
Indianz.com reported the state has been withholding the tribe's trust gaming funds due to an ongoing leadership dispute within the tribe. Chairman Phillip Del Rosa and Vice Chairman Darren Rose argued over the number of enrolled tribal members. Del Rosa contended there were seven, and Rose insisted there were five, reported Siskiyou Daily. Ultimately the BIA sided with Del Rosa.