Lisa Liebl, a spokeswoman for the tribes, said checks to vendors, contractors and tribal employees started bouncing soon after the freeze went into effect. She said the tribes' 500 or so employees — excluding casino workers — are now working a reduced work schedule to save money.
Liebl said the tribes' Lucky Star casinos will continue to run without interruption but that many programs administered using federal dollars will have to cease or be scaled back until the banking dispute is resolved.
According to the lawsuit, the tribes claim that key governmental functions such as housing assistance and a food voucher program will be severely cut back if the funds remain frozen. Documents provided by the tribes indicate that hundreds of tribal and nontribal members could be affected if the funds aren't freed up.
Emergency medical services, firefighting units, substance abuse programs and a laundry list of other social services provided by the tribes “will likely be scaled back tremendously,” Liebl said.