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Barwest Behind California Vote Lawsuit

9 February 2006

BARSTOW, California – (PRESS RELEASE) -- In sworn court testimony this last week, it was revealed that gambling interests behind various Detroit-based Barwest enterprises are the driving force and the million dollar bank account funding a last ditch lawsuit and more intended to take away the rights of Barstow voters and cost Barstow taxpayers thousands.

Attorneys representing the "Committee for 2800 New Jobs," a group led by former Barstow Councilman Manuel "Gil" Gurule, filed a counter motion ( a classic SLAPP motion ) in Barstow Superior Court this week to protect the constitutional rights of Barstow's voters. The legal move was introduced to bring to the court's attention the relentless effort Detroit-based Barwest has made to interfere with the constitutional rights of Barstow locals.

"We've worked too hard for the right to vote," said Gurule, "despite a series of aggressive, unethical and border-line criminal efforts by Mayor Lawrence Dale, going back six months to the July 4th weekend, meant to keep Barstow from voting in support of a casino resort.

"Mayor Lawrence Dale, his Detroit friends and the one or two local sellouts they've recruited to front for them will not stand in our way. More than 3,400 locals support our right to vote on this very important matter affecting Barstow's future. We can't let outsiders take away our right vote."

In December 2005, well after the Barstow City Council certified the initiative backed by 3,400 local residents and set a June 2006 vote on Indian gaming matters, a Barwest connected attorney made a surprise appearance at a City Council meeting. He said he represented some newly formed group supportive of Mayor Dale's position opposing any public vote. The attorney said he represented Greg Lint and a "group" of Barstow citizens as well as the Los Coyotes tribe. He informed the council these locals were going to back the Mayor's relentless effort to block any public vote on Indian gaming matters.

In sworn court testimony last week, Greg Lint failed to offer proof that any such group was formally established. He explained he was recruited by Barwest operatives at the last minute to be the face of their so-called "citizens group." In truth, Lint and a woman who also resides with Lint are the only Barstow residents truly involved.

Fred Woocher, attorney for the Gurule lead group backing the right to vote said, "In several hours of back to back testimony, Lint and Kevin Siva, Los Coyotes tribal leader and his tribe's casino resort project manager, testified under oath, that they knew little at all about the frivolous law suit and to our shock, did not demonstrate much command of the facts and circumstances of the Barstow casino resort proposals either. It is unfortunate to see the pair being used as classic puppets by people from Detroit."

Gurule added, "The testimony of Kevin Siva demonstrates the Los Coyotes tribe is unfortunately being used by Barwest in order to further the financial gains of Barwest principles Ilitch and Malik and maintain the Detroit gambling operator's exclusive strangle hold on Barstow's future. They've got the Mayor under their spell and the Detroit gambling operators will go to any extreme to guarantee they, and no one else control the destiny, or not, of a casino resort in Barstow."

"By their actions and inactions, Barwest shows once again, little regard for those of us they call their 'partners:' the taxpayers and voters of Barstow and the well intended Indian tribes who have simple dreams of hope and opportunity."

"Barwest doesn't think twice about threatening lawsuits to bully and intimidate Barstow taxpayers. They are using the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon Indians as little more than a conduit to score gambling millions, even billions, while they keep tribal leaders muzzled and in the dark."

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