Casino land sale up in the air — for now

Casino land sale up  in the air — for nowBy BRIAN COSNER, News Review Staff Writer

Escrow has expired as of Monday for the city’s 29-acre land sale for a proposed Timbisha Shoshone casino and entertainment complex. This expiration doesn’t mean that the agreement is terminated, but that it’s up to the post-election council to extend the escrow or scrap the sale, according to City Manager Ron Strand.

“The direction of the current council is to allow for the newly elected council to make that decision,” said Strand in an interview.

Tribal Chair George Gholson said he didn’t “want to put the incumbents in an awkward position,” so the tribe did not push the developers to request an extension. He added that the developer would need to give more details. He could not provide direct contact information for Las Vegas-based developer Nigel White.

But whether or not an extension is requested, the contract allows for the city council to vote on the fate of the sale at any time now that two years have passed since the initial vote.

Some suggest that the developers are using the lack of movement as an opportunity to sway the council by sending out last-minute political ads, endorsing some candidates and criticizing others.

Outside influence on local elections has been heavily discussed this election. Critics have noted that some recent endorsements were not authorized by any of the candidates and were apparently funded through a Sacramento-based political action committee (see the lead story: http://www.news-ridgecrest.com/news/story.pl?id=0000009203).

Story First Published: 2018-11-02