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Tribal chairman says charges coming after Oklahoma casino closures

Corruption and mismanagement of money are responsible for the closure of two casinos owned and operated by the Apache Nation of Oklahoma, tribe Chairman Donnie Cabaniss said.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: August 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm •  Published: August 1, 2013

The chairman of the Apache Nation of Oklahoma says he plans to meet with the Federal Bureau of Investigation next week to report what he calls blatant thefts from a casino's vault by members of one of the tribe's political factions.

Chairman Donnie Cabaniss said during an interview Thursday afternoon that members of the tribe's business committee recently raided the safe at the Golden Eagle Casino, one of the gaming facilities owned by the tribe.

The Silver Buffalo Casino closed a week ago. The tribe's other facility, the Golden Eagle Casino, shut down Wednesday.

Cabaniss was not sure how much was taken from the vault at Silver Buffalo Casino and said he's not sure when they will reopen.

“They pretty much just went in there and took whatever they wanted,” Cabaniss said. “They paid Silver Buffalo Casino with Golden Eagle (Casino) money.”

Cabaniss said the employees from Golden Eagle Casino “will get paid next week ... but they've already been laid off.” He was not sure how many casino employees have been put out of work due to the closures.

Local media reports suggest up to 100 workers may be out of job until the situation is resolved.

“The next step would be the FBI,” the chairman said. “I mean, we've got them on camera stealing out of the vault. We also have several informants who have stepped up and they're going to give their statements.”

Cabaniss said he isn't sure when the casinos will reopen. He said the facilities generated “millions of dollars every year” when he was a member of the business committee in 2006.

“That will be up to NIGC,” Cabaniss said, referring to the National Indian Gaming Commission. “When they come down — and I'm sure they will — it will be up to them.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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