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Pojoaque of Pueblo has $10.1m seized by Department of Justice

The United States Federal Government has seized a bank account containing $10.1m from the Pojoaque Pueblo Tribal Government following the dispute surrounding their failure to sign a compact with the State of New Mexico.

pueblo

This latest twist centers on money owed to the state between the end of their compact in 2015 and up to the signing of a new tribal compact in August 2017.

Following the end of the compact, which saw the State receive 8% of the Tribe’s gambling revenue, an agreement was put into place by the U.S attorney Damon Martinez that allowed for the continuation of the Pojoaque Pueblo’s casino operations, under the guise that a new compact would be signed which would see the tribe continue to pay a portion of its proceeds to the New Mexico Government.

A bank account was set up by Pojoaque Pueblo at the end of the 2015 compact in which the gaming revenue share that had previously gone to the State was diverted. This account of $10.1m was seized on Friday by the U.S Department of justice.

Despite the signing of a new compact on the 4th of August 2017,  in which New Mexico’s share of gaming revenue is increased, complications arose over what State claimed it was owed during the two year period in which it did not receive a contribution of the Tribes gaming revenue.

Officials of the Pojoaque Pueblo have strongly disagreed with the ruling insisting that they should not have to forfeit the money for the period as there was no compact in place. Instead they argue that the money should go towards the tribe’s future economic development and the well being of its people.

On Friday Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. Joseph M. Talachy stated: “I am disappointed that the Department of Justice has chosen to pursue this course of action. The money in this account by law should help provide food, shelter, education and other basic necessities for the Pueblo’s people, including funds to fight the overwhelming opioid epidemic that is devastating the Pueblo.”

The problem is exacerbated by the current financial strain being faced by the State of New Mexico that has been searching for ways to help increase the States revenue. This has coincided with the current opioid problem experienced in the Pojoaque Pueblo community, forcing both sides to fight tooth and nail for their corner.


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