Online lending case could set precedents
A suit by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau against four online lenders affiliated with a tribe could become an important part of case law, says defense attorney Lori Alvino McGill of Wilkinson Walsh Eskovitz.
The case brought by the CFPB against four lenders affiliated with the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake tribe involves critical issues about the application of case law regarding the internet, which is “sort of present everywhere and nowhere at once,” McGill says.
The law needs to be further developed to protect tribes’ ability to export their legal frameworks in contracts, McGill says. “The consumers are fully aware they are entering tribal jurisdiction and that they are selecting tribal law as a choice of law. We think in other consumer contexts that that choice should be available to tribes and consumers.”
McGill has filed a motion requesting that the venue for the case be transferred from Chicago to Kansas City.
It’s not clear why the CFPB filed the case in Chicago since the tribe and lenders are centered on the Kansas City area. It could be several months before the court responds to the motion if it wants a full briefing and arguments, McGill says.
In June, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development partnered with global retailer the Alibaba Group to host the inaugural Gateway ’17 Conference in Detroit, Michigan. The two-day conference included sessions on how Native businesses can enter the Chinese marketplace by targeting China’s middle class.
The Chinese middle class is earning more income than before and as this consumer base grows, so does their buying power. This economic boost paves the way for opportunity for Native businesses to target and sell to this growing demographic.
Sharing Economy, or is it?
The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon proposed a business plan, but with a twist. The tribe plans to build a casino on tribal land in Salem, and said it would share 25 percent of the net gaming revenue with local and state government. In addition, the Siletz tribe seeks to partner with other tribes in the operation. The deal would involve net revenue sharing, in which the Siletz keeps 25 percent and the partnering tribes gets 25 percent, as long as the tribe agrees to never establish a casino in the region, as reported by The Salem Statesman-Journal. The Salem casino is projected to cost $280 million and would open in 2021, bringing 1,500 fulltime jobs. The inter-tribal casino proposal comes, not without political scrutiny, after the recent opening of the iLani Casino Resort in Washington State.
A 10-year dispute, with lawsuits, finally ends with a settlement for the Tohono O’odham Nation. Arizona state officials agreed to let the tribe expand its gaming enterprise Desert Diamond West Valley Casino by adding slot machines and table games.
The suit was dropped on the agreement that the Tohono O’odham will not open another casino in the Phoenix region. The Arizona Republic reported that local government officials alleged that the tribe secretly acquired land, without disclosure, in the West Valley with the intent to open a casino, which prompted the legal dispute.
Desert Diamond Casino West Valley, located near Glendale, Arizona, opened in 2015.
Tribes support climate pact
Despite the Trump administration pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, tribal organizations across the United States remain committed, saying they pledge to implement it moving forward. Under the agreement with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, members will plan and report its own contribution in reducing global warming.
“As indigenous peoples, we have a responsibility to protect traditional homelands which are inherently connected to our cultural languages and identities,” said a statement issued by the Tlingit & Haida along with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Quinault Indian Nation and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.
People on the Move
Allyson Doctor was appointed as the interim CEO of Mohawk Networks, a tribally-owned broadband company in New York. Doctor brings 20 years of development experience from her background in health care telecommunications. She has a master’s of science from Boston University. Mohawk Networks, a North Country Broadband subsidiary, serves the northern New York region.
Four Diamonds for We-Ko-Pa
We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center is the recipient of AAA’s Four Diamond Award again this year. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based resort has won the award for 12 consecutive years.
“A hotel does not achieve such consistent industry recognition without the hard work and dedication of its associates,” said Craig Benell, general manager of the We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center, an enterprise of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.
TBJís Future Publisher
Tribal Business Journal’s Manager of Business Development R. Cameron Jacobs welcomes baby daughter Karishma Cheyenne Jacobs.