Lawsuit: Casino Built on Native American Burial Ground

The lawsuit claims the ground was excavated and the contents were dumped near the border

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A tribal gaming casino in Jamul has been plagued by controversy and a new lawsuit brings up even more trouble, claming the casino was built on top of ancient Native American burial sites dug up for its construction. NBC 7's Gene Cubbison reports. (Published Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014)

    A new lawsuit alleges that construction of Jamul’s new casino desecrated Native American burial ground.

    The lawsuit was filed last week on behalf of two tribal members who say their ancestors were interred in unmarked gravesites on the property.

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    Construction of the $360 million Hollywood Casino Jamul off State Route 94 is still in the early stages, but the project has already spawned four lawsuits at both the state and federal levels.

    Jamul residents argue the casino would create major traffic problems and does not comply with state regulations. San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacobs agrees.

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    "The lawsuit adds to what Jamul residents have been saying for years: A massive gaming complex does not fit with the character of the community and will add thousands of cars to a narrow, windy, two-lane highway," Jacobs said in a statement, adding she hasn't read the lawsuit yet.

    Jacobs also said there are well-known burial grounds next to the casino site.

    The latest lawsuit claims the ground was excavated and the contents were dumped at the freeway interchange project at State Routes 125 and 905 near the border.

    The defendant in the case is CalTrans, which holds the encroach permit under which the casino developer is working. Opponents say the tribe and CalTrans are motivated by money and ignored warnings about the gravesites.

    On Wednesday, Jamul Indian Village Chairman Raymond Hunter released a statement, saying there is no merit to these claims.

    "Our Tribe reveres and honors our ancestors and the passing of all tribal members. JIV has no record of remains placed legally in any place other than the cemetery. Any indication that remains have been placed illegally in other than the cemetery would need to be investigated by authorities.”

    A spokeswoman for CalTrans said she could not comment on pending litigation.

    A Superior Court Judge heard the first arguments in the burial site case Wednesday morning. The judge did not take action, meaning construction can continue. They will meet again Tuesday so CalTrans can have more time to prepares its case.

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