A move by one of the two, feuding tribal councils trying to run the Meskwaki settlement and its gambling casino near Tama has been thwarted. The elected council, led by Alex Walker, Junior, tried to take over the financial offices at the casino early this morning. A security firm hired by the elected council tried to break into the offices, but security hired by the council appointed by the hereditary chief stopped the rivals, who had hoped to occupy the offices and take steps to reopen the casino. Local law enforcement stepped in to “keep the peace.” Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera (koo-CHAIR-uh) says his office was notified that something was going to happen, and it’s his duty to serve the people.Kucera says in March, his office was told the matter was none of the county’s business, but he says they were invited out this morning to “keep the peace.” Kucera says he and his deputies have been on the casino property since six this morning. Kucera says there’s been a lot of words, but no physical violence. The Sheriff says both sides are sitting down to try to talk things out. Betsy McCloskey, director of marketing at the casino. says there is evidence of the use of force. McCloskey says there’s been damage to the casino building — doors to the finance department and the general manager’s suite of offices are broken. McCloskey says no progress has been made in the dispute that led to the casino’s closure in May. McCloskey says the elected council is trying to get the casino open, while the appointed council is trying to protect the casino’s assets, so everything’s back to the original argument. McCloskey says she understands that casino managers, like herself, are to report to the appointed tribal council until October 21st, when a scheduled election will decide tribal leadership. The feuding sides each held news conferences this afternoon at two o’clock to plead their case. Alex Walker, Junior — the leader of the elected council — has announced he will not seek reelection and he’s called on Homer Bear, Junior — the leader of the appointed council — to pull his name out of contention, too.
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