The disputed land lies south of the Paiute Palace Casino.

The disputed land lies south of the Paiute Palace Casino.

Even as the Napoles family prepared to go to Tribal Court on trespass citations given to them as they protested what they call a tribal take-over of their lots, the Bishop Indian Tribal Council released a statement detailing why the Napoles have no right to land south of the Paiute Palace Casino.

Tribal Chairman Chad Delgado signed the letter which goes back to a 1962 land ordinance which says eligible tribal members may receive up to two lots of land. The letter says the land in question has never been assigned to anyone other than the late Ida Warlie. Since her death, say officials, the land has not been assigned to anyone.

However, in 1982, the Tribal Council passed a resolution assigning the land to grandchildren of Richard Warlie. Officials say the sister of Richard Warlie, Geraldine Pasqua claims rights to the land. In 2005, the Tribal Council asked the two grandchildren if they would agree to acquire land elsewhere on the reservation in exchange for the lots south of the Casino for “economic development.” The Napoles family objected. In 2007, the Tribal Council says, the Tribe granted lots across the street from the lots in contention to a Napoles family member.

The arguments have continued. The Tribal officials said they felt they could not satisfy the Napoles but tried many times.

Earlier, Rick Napoles said in fact his Aunt, Geraldine Pasqua holds the lots in question. He said that the Tribal Council has denied this assignment and “want to claim it for Casino expansion.” He also said that last July, tribal members voted down the idea of expanding the Casino. Chairman Delgado did confirm that the Tribe rejected the Casino/ Hotel project on the ballot.

June 9th, Napoles family members publicly protested. The Tribal Police Officer issued them trespass citations. Rick Napoles claims that the wider Owens Valley Tribal Board passed a resolution granting his aunt the two plots of land.

According to Chairman Delgado, the Tribal Court on Tuesday found Napoles family members and their supporters guilty of trespassing. They were fined $500 each. The fines were suspended and the family give seven days to remove signage and live stock from the land.  Rick Napoles said the family will appeal the court’s decision.

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