A criminal investigation summons has been issued by the Internal Revenue Service for records from a Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians business offshoot and its leader, tribal council member Jeffrey Chance Alberta.
Alberta’s name was specifically mentioned in the summons, which was received by the tribal council at its Fresno office about a week ago, said Reggie Lewis, chairman of the Chukchansi Tribal Council that Alberta also is seated on.
IRS investigators interviewed the 41-year-old Alberta for about 45 minutes last week, Lewis said.
No other tribe members are named in the summons, which seeks records from 2010-14. No dollar amounts are noted in the document.
When asked Monday, IRS officials did not acknowledge the summons.
Arlette Lee, a spokeswoman and special agent for the IRS in the Bay Area, said the agency will not confirm an investigation and normally doesn’t confirm the filing of any documents until a criminal complaint, search warrant or indictment is issued. None of those have been filed in this case, which means criminal wrongdoing has not yet been found, she said.
The summons seeks “all corporate records and books of account relative to the financial transactions of Jeffrey Chance Alberta, Chukchansi, Incorporated of Coarsegold, CA, and any entity operated under Alberta and Chukchansi, Incorporated.”
The summons demands examination of inventory records, corporate minute book, stock register, loan, savings and checking account records.
There is no reference in the summons to audits filed with the National Indian Gaming Commission last year that said there was $49.6 million unaccounted for from audits for 2012 and 2013. Late audits and a casino office raid to recover audit information last October led to closure of Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino.
All corporate records and books of account relative to the financial transactions of Jeffrey Chance Alberta, Chukchansi, Incorporated of Coarsegold, CA, and any entity operated under Alberta and Chukchansi, Incorporated.
Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation summons
Chukchansi Inc. is a tribal-owned company that generates income for the tribe. The economic development program invests in, acquires and supports businesses that bring profits and employment to tribe members. Among the businesses Chukchansi Inc. has been involved in is the Sportsmen’s Den and Yosemite Lumber in Oakhurst, as well as the Willow Glen Smoke Shop in Coarsegold and Blue King, an online payday lending company.
The situation has led to a rift in the Fresno-based Chukchansi tribal council that Lewis and Alberta are seated on. Lewis and fellow council members Nancy Ayala and Jennifer Stanley favor suspending Alberta until the investigation is over. But members Morris Reid, Dora Jones and Nokomis Hernandez support keeping Alberta on the council.
Alberta was the deciding vote to allow about 150 disenrolled from the tribe between 2010 and 2012 to vote in the tribal council election on Oct. 3. The opposing votes were from Lewis, Ayala and Stanley.
Reid, Jones and Hernandez voted to pay for Alberta’s defense in a meeting that Lewis said he, Ayala and Stanley didn’t attend.
Lewis said he is concerned about paying for lawyers in a “criminal investigation.”
“If Chance is being investigated for anything criminal it would be in the best interest of the tribe to suspend him from Chukchansi Inc., and the tribal council,” he said.
There are 32 candidates running in the October election. All seven members of the 2010 board, which was installed earlier this year by the Interior Board of Indian Appeals, are seeking election.
David Linn, Madera County’s district attorney, said he knew the summons was issued, but that his office is not involved in the investigation.
Efforts to reach Alberta on Monday were unsuccessful.
Marc Benjamin: 559-441-6166