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Joan Whitely

Southern California tribe pursues Roadhouse Casino

27 June 2007

NEVADA -- The closed Roadhouse Casino on Boulder Highway in Henderson no longer has a permit to operate gaming without a hotel, but the casino remains an acquisition target for a Southern California gaming tribe, the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians.

District Court Judge David Barker recently declined to review the Henderson City Council's decision in December to deny an extension of the Roadhouse's permit, which grandfathered its status as a neighborhood casino, which does not require having a hotel. The judge declined by granting Friday the city's motion to dismiss a request for review from Creekside Holdings.

"We are disappointed we were not given the opportunity to protect that license," said Las Vegas lawyer Artemus Ham, who represented Creekside. "But the tribe is definitely interested" in developing the Roadhouse site, 2100 N. Boulder Highway, Ham said.

Roadhouse owner Robert McMackin confirmed Tuesday that the Sobobas' escrow account to purchase the property for $15 million is still open.

Creekside Holdings has held a lease and purchase option on the shuttered Roadhouse, but it is locked in a separate dispute with McMackin over a breach of the lease. That conflict is set to go to trial in District Court in early September.

Barker decided that Creekside did not have standing to appeal the council's action because it did not formally appeal the Henderson Planning Commission decision that denied the permit extension, which the council upheld. "This Court ... holds that Creekside failed to properly preserve their right to appeal to this Court by neglecting to lodge their own appeal before the City Council."

The Soboba tribe has owned and run the Soboba Casino on its reservation near Hemet, Calif., since 1995. Neither its tribal administrator nor casino manager returned telephone calls requesting comment.

Ham said he does not legally represent the tribe, but Creekside and the tribe have a "united interest" in the future of the Roadhouse, which is located near the northeast corner of Boulder Highway and Sunset Road.

Ham and Ron Sailon, assistant city attorney for Henderson, both said that the Sobobas have requested a meeting with Henderson planning officials to discuss the tribe's ideas for developing the Roadhouse site.