Businessman sues Blue Lake Casino operator and Indian tribe
James Acres, a businessman from Encinitas, CA, has launched a lawsuit against a number of people involved with the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe. The suit comes following a legal battle that has been continuing for the past three years with the Blue Lake Casino, and seeks damages for wrongful civil proceedings, conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.
The turmoil began in 2012. At the time, Blue Lake Casino was using iPad style slot machines for which Acres, through his Bonusing, Inc. company, was managing. The casino had been using the devices since 2010, but a reduction in customer interest led to the venue deciding to pull the plug.
In doing so, Blue Lake demanded that Acres make a refund of $250,000, as well as pay thousands more in interest and other fees. He refused to pay the refund and was subsequently served with a lawsuit by the casino in 2016.
Because the casino is operated by the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe, the lawsuit was covered by tribal courts. Acres asserts that he was never given a fair trial, given the fact that the case was presided over by a tribal judge - who was reportedly on the casino's payroll - and because the jury was comprised only of Blue Lake tribal members.
Acres approached the California legal system to request permission to file a lawsuit and the courts have granted him permission to file his lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court. The casino has not commented on the decision.