In mid-2011, the Snoqualmie Tribe was approached by Larry Claunch's One Hundred Sands corporation to invest $1.5 million in the developer's $290 million luxury resort and casino in Fiji. Plans called for a destination casino on Denarau Island, on the west coast of Fiji, and potentially building a second casino at Suva, on the southeast coast.
In February 2012, Larry Claunch on behalf of One Hundred Sands, Ltd. issued a promissory note that gauranteed it would repay the tribe $1.5 million, plus interest, by February 2, 2012. When the project was slow to start, the tribe pulled out of the deal with developer One Hundred Sands, which is headquartered in Fiji and has an exclusive 15-year gaming license to be the only casino operator in Fiji. One Hundred Sands finally broke ground on the Denarau Island resort earlier this month. The tribe has yet to be repaid.
On May 27, 2014, the Snoqualmie Tribe filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court in Washington State seeking to recover its $1.5 million, plus interest and other fees. The lawsuit names Larry Claunch and three of his business entities associated with the Fiji project as defendants.
“We have been trying for months to recover the $1.5 million without having to file suit,” said Carolyn Lubenau, the chairwoman of the Snoqualmie Tribal Council. “But no one responded to the Tribe’s demand. The Note is past due and must be repaid in full.”
Lubenau added, “Snoqualmie Tribal Council’s primary job is to protect the welfare of the Tribe and the Snoqualmie people. Our goal with this lawsuit is to recover the money that was loaned to Mr. Claunch for Fiji so that it can be used to benefit our Tribal members here at home.”
The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe is a federally recognized tribe in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. The Tribe owns and operates the Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, Washington.