Sheriff files counter-suit

October 29, 2013 

Madera County Sheriff John Anderson has filed suit against the Reggie Lewis faction of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians to stop enforcement of a restraining order to prevent Anderson from sending county law enforcement on to tribal land.

The suit was filed Oct. 17 with the U.S. District Court in Northern California, and the case will be heard before a U.S. District Court judge on Nov. 8 in San Francisco.

This suit stems from an earlier lawsuit filed in Chukchansi Tribal Court by the Lewis faction, alleging that Anderson allowed supporters of the Nancy Ayala faction to illegally remove records from the Chukchansi Indian Housing Authority offices, and that he conspired against Lewis and his supporters by aiding and abetting the Ayala group.

According to the recent suit, ".. the underlying proceedings before the Lewis Faction Tribunal are nothing more or less than a sham and self-serving construct unilaterally created by the Lewis faction to create political support in their attempt to gain control over the tribe ... There is no jurisdictional basis for any Tribal Court, duly appointed or not, much less the Lewis faction tribunal, to render any rulings against Sheriff Anderson."

Anderson is represented by the law firm of Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murpy & Pinnkey of Palm Springs.

Madera County was officially dropped from the lawsuit originally filed by the Lewis faction, however, Anderson and faction tribal leader Nancy Ayala, along with her council members, remain defendants in the suit.

At the time the Lewis suit was made public, David Leibowitz, spokesman for the Ayala group, called the suit "bogus and not worth the paper it is written on. They've created a fake tribal court in which they filed a fake lawsuit."

Lewis and Ayala both lay claim to tribal leadership and control over the tribe's Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold.

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