Tribal police detained a dozen state transportation workers for nearly two hours at a maintenance shed on tribal lands June 8 in a dispute over back rent for the facility, state officials said. Tribal Chairman Alan Mandell disagreed, saying no workers were held against their will and the tribal police were only trying to prevent removal of construction equipment because of the $335,000 he says the state owes the tribe. No one was hurt and no outside law enforcement officers were involved before workers were allowed to leave the maintenance yard at Nixon about 30 miles east of Reno. Tribal officers stopped blocking the departure of workers after the state attorney general suggested to lawyers for the tribe that further detainment could constitute a crime. The tribe recently notified the state it would be guilty of trespass if it returned to the facility. A front-loader, two trailers and an old pickup truck workers were trying to remove were left behind. Mandell said the tribe sent the state a bill the previous week and asked for a meeting on the subject. "We've had trouble getting NDOT to the table ... there's no lease on the land right now. NDOT has been utilizing it knowing that they are trespassing."
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