*Update 12:14 p.m. Aug. 18 – Bim Stephen ‘Steve’ Bruner made his initial appearance in court Aug. 17.
According to an Muscogee (Creek) Nation District Court document, Bruner’s attorney said he stood mute and the court entered a plea of not-guilty on charges of possession of an unlicensed gambling device and having an unlicensed gambling premise.
The document stated the MCN AG requested bond be set at $5,000. The defendant requested he be released on his own recognizance to which the AG objected. The court reduced bond to $1,250 cash per each count for a total of $2,500.
The AG requested a bond condition that the defendant would not be allowed to return to the seized property. The court ordered that he not return to his property and upon request of the defendant to retrieve his vehicle, allowed him to make arrangements to retrieve it.
An arraignment was set for Sept. 18 at 9:30 a.m.
Lighthorse moves on Kialegee property following warnings from feds, MCN
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma — The property of Muscogee (Creek) citizen Bim Stephen ‘Steve’ Bruner was raided Aug. 16 following warnings by Musocgee (Creek) Nation and the National Indian Gaming Commission that gaming was not authorized on his land.
Bruner was issued a letter from MCN June 6 warning about potential action if unlicensed gaming development continued on the property.
‘Mr. Bruner and others associated with the facility have repeatedly described it as a restaurant and bar and stated that the conduct of gaming at the facility was merely a possibility.
‘It recently came to the attention of officials at the Nation that actions related to the purchase/lease of Class II gaming machines as well as cash counting and surveillance equipment associated with the operation of a gaming facility had been taken.’
In previous Mvskoke Media coverage of a Oct. 18, 2016 Broken Arrow City Council meeting, BA officials stated they were informed that gaming at the site was being considered but not on the horizon.
The MCN letter warned of potential action if gaming development continued on the property.
‘The Nation and its agencies will pursue any and all available means necessary to prevent the conduct of unlicensed gaming within the Nation’s jurisdiction and will involve any other regulatory body or law enforcement agency required to do so.’
Kialegee Tribal Town King Jeremiah Hobia received a notice June 21 from the National Indian Gaming Commission denying application for a gaming license on Bruner’s allotted land.
‘…the Muscogee (Creek) Nation exercises exclusive jurisdiction over the Bruner Parcel. Accordingly, while the parcel may be Indian lands for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the Bruner Parcel is not eligible for gaming by the Kialegee Tribal Town.’
The letter goes on to warn of potential civil fines and a temporary closure notice if construction on the property continued.
A hearing is scheduled for the afternoon of Aug. 17 regarding a petition by the MCN Attorney General’s Office to the MCN District Court to revoke the citizenship of Hobia and order the MCN Election Board to remove him from the list of certified and eligible National Council candidates.
The court documents filled by the MCN AG state that Hobia is ineligible for MCN citizenship and thus to hold MCN office because he is enrolled with KTT.
Attorney for KTT, Penny Coleman issued a statement to Mvskoke Media following the NIGC denial letter.
‘We believe that the Kialegee Tribal Town’s status as an independent sovereign nation with rights under the Creek treaties provides a strong argument that the Tribe shares jurisdiction and shares a reservation with the other three federally recognized Creek tribes.’
The letter goes on to list factors KTT counsel believed were not taken into account when considering the license and cited a conflict of interest regarding the decision.
‘The NIGC’s letter of June 21, 2017, was issued without the benefit of having the comprehensive analysis and ethnohistorical report which we intend to submit on the Tribe’s behalf later this month.
‘While the Tribal Town was greatly disappointed to learn that NIGC Chairman Chaudhuri, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, declined to recuse himself despite his clear conflict of interest on this matter, we are optimistic that the Tribe’s position will prevail.’
A court document filed Aug. 17 with the U.S. District Court of Columbia states that KTT is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the U.S. Department of the Interior and DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke, Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Michael Black and Chaudhuri.
The document states that KTT believes the listed defendants have wrongfully refused to recognize the town’s treaty protected status and have denied protections they are entitled to under this status.
‘Defendants incorrectly aver that Plaintiff does not have “shared jurisdiction” with Muscogee Creek Nation over the Bruner allotment – also known as “jurisdiction in common” – which is land within the historical boundaries of the Creek Reservation in Eastern Oklahoma.’
Injunctive relief is defined as a court-order requiring an individual to do or not do a specific action. Declaratory relief involves the party making the request seeking an official declaration of the status of a matter in controversy, both according to www.uslegal.com.
MCN issued a statement the evening of the raid by MCN Tribal Lighthorse Police on Bruner’s property, which sits south of the Creek Turnpike around 129th East Avenue in Broken Arrow, citing the June 6 letter that warned of potential action.
‘Mr. Bruner and others associated with the casino have continued to disregard the Nation’s laws and regulations by bringing unlicensed gaming machines and other gaming related equipment on to the site and moving forward with the facility, resulting in the actions taken by law enforcement this evening.
‘The fact that gaming machines and other gaming equipment were found on the premises make it clear that all earlier statements that gaming was only being considered were false…’
The ‘Tulsa World’ reported that the principal of project developer Red Creek Holdings LLC, Luis Figueredo said gaming machines were not installed at the time of the raid and that the facility was expecting a major shipment this week or next.
“In our opinion it is an illegal seizure. They were a little bit aggressive with my folks, so I guess we’ll be going to court tomorrow,” Figueredo said in the report.
The business filings for Red Creek Holdings on the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s website shows the registered agent for the business to be Shane Rolls.
KTT based out of Wetumka, had partnered with Rolls to develop the 2011 Red Clay Casino project in Broken Arrow on land owned by Muscogee (Creek) citizens Wynema Capps and Marcella Giles.
The NIGC ruled in summer 2012 that gaming was not allowed on the property.
TW also reported that Bruner was arrested in connection with possession of unlicensed gambling devices and maintaining an unlicensed gambling premise.
Mvskoke Media reached out to LTPD, MCN Public Relations and the MCN AG’s Office the morning of Aug. 17 regarding the status of Bruner.
The MCN AG’s Office stated that Bruner was in custody at the Okmulgee County Jail and that he had a scheduled initial appearance at 11 a.m. in MCN District Court.
LTPD Chief of Police Robert Hawkins had voiced intent the night of the raid to give further information the afternoon of Aug. 17.
‘Bar Rescue’ star Jon Taffer announced plans to open Embers Grille Oct. 19, 2016 on Bruner’s property.
Mvskoke Media emailed press contacts for Taffer June 20 about the restaurant and did not receive a response.1 comment