Wilton Rancheria tribe buys office building, looks for casino site

Mark Anderson Staff Writer Sacramento Business Journal 

The Wilton Rancheria bought an industrial and office building in old Elk Grove which it plans to use for office space. The rancheria is a consolidation of tribes that is looking at sites in south Sacramento County to build a casino.

The tribe bought the 10,000 square-foot building for $1.35 million. The building has 6,000 square feet of office space, which the tribe will use for its various programs, tribal chairman Raymond Hitchcock said. The tribal offices will move over the summer, he said. The tribe bought the office space to cut costs from the space it currently leases at 9300 West Stockton Blvd.

Wilton Rancheria will not put the office building into trust, he said.

Tribes can have real estate they own or control put into trust by the federal government, and then that land becomes a sovereign domestic nation. Once land is in trust, it comes off the tax rolls. Trust land also can be used for economic development, including casinos.

The Wilton Rancheria is in the middle of a study on its request to put land into trust for a casino project. The tribe is looking at sites in Elk Grove, Wilton, and Galt.

The Wilton site is the tribe’s rancheria land on Wilton Road south of Elk Grove. The other sites are adjacent to Highway 99.

In February, the Bureau of Indian Affairs on behalf of the tribe began an "environmental impact statement" scoping report, which is a step along the way to get land put into trust by the federal government.

The report considers options and issues surrounding the proposed 282-acre fee-to-trust transfer and casino development project in southern Sacramento County.

The tribe is working with Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp., which owns 22 casinos in eight states. Boyd (NYSE: BOYD) would develop the casino and receive a share of the revenue and profit from operation.
The tribe’s status as a nation tribe was terminated by the federal government in 1959 at a time when the government was pushing for the assimilation of native people. Some 42 tribes were terminated under the auspices of a federal action called the California Rancheria Act of 1958.

A decade ago, the Me-Wuk Indian Community of the Wilton Rancheria and the Wilton Miwok Rancheria sued the federal government to restore their federal recognition as sovereign nations. The tribes consolidated to become the Wilton Rancheria.

The Wilton Rancheria’s federal recognition was granted in 2009.

Posted: Jun 19, 2014,
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