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Tribe pays for councilman's trip to D.C.

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An Indian tribe that wants to build a casino near Madera paid for a city councilman's trip to Washington, D.C. last year so he could testify in favor of the project, interviews and recently filed court records show. The councilman, Gary Svanda, has been a vocal and longtime supporter of the controversial project. When he testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in May 2008, he said he was speaking on behalf of the City Council and the Madera County Board of Supervisors, according to a hearing transcript.