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May 26, 2011
On Tuesday, May 17, 2011 the Colorado River Indian Tribal Court ruled
to evict the Blythe Boat
Club after negotiations with the long-standing tenant
broke down; forcing the Tribes on May 25th
to remove the club, which
was operating without a valid lease, from Tribal lands.
For over 30 years, the Tribes admired the work done for the
community by the Blythe Boat Club,
and were pleased to have such an organization
as a tenant. While the Boat Club had originally
occupied the premises pursuant
to a "Quitclaim" deed, it obtained a permit for "non-commercial use"
Colorado River Indian Tribes in 1972. Unlike most other property deeds, a
contains no title covenants; thus, offers the grantee no warranty
as to the status of the property title.
Blythe Boat Club was an entity that not only paid its rent
in a timely manner, but also one that made
substantial improvements to the land,
as promised. In addition, Blythe
Boat Club made their facilities
available for use: to youth organizations and
other public service agencies, at little or no cost - which
community as a whole. In turn, Colorado River Indian Tribes, for decades, showed
appreciation by keeping the rent below market rates.
For over 15 years the Colorado River Indian Tribes had a
positive relationship with the
Club: a good tenant, in good standing, until December 31, 2004, when
the last valid lease ended by
its own terms.
When negotiations between the Colorado River Indian Tribes
and the Blythe Boat Club started on a
new lease, or an extension of the
then-current lease, a new rental amount could not be agreed upon.
So Blythe Boat Club decided to go "rogue", paying what they thought was
fair. They paid rent
"their" proposed schedule for all of 2005, but stopped paying this rent by
When Blythe Boat Club was questioned over their "rogue"
practices, they suddenly asserted that t
hey had "renewed" their lease for a
5-year option period, as allowed under the terms of their previous
Colorado River Indian Tribes disagreed with this "interpretation" and
told them to vacate the
premises, at which time they refused, and also refused
to pay any more rent to" Colorado River
Since mid-2006, Blythe Boat Club occupied the land without
paying rent, and without the benefit
of a current lease. In mid-2009, the
Colorado River Indian Tribes' Office of the Attorney General
attempted to reopen
communication lines between the parties: presenting an "Offer of Compromise",
stating the Tribes' terms.
Although discussions ensued and the Tribes, in the spirit
of compromise, offered a new lease at
below-market rent, Blythe Boat Club's
current leadership decided to reject the Tribes' offer.
Still attempting to reach an amicable agreement the Tribes gave them
additional opportunities to
restart negotiations, but Blythe Boat Club chose to
sever all ties.
Realizing that all hope of a negotiated resolution was
gone, Colorado River Indian Tribes initiated
the eviction action in September
Blythe Boat Club, at this time, tried to argue their two
main points for not negotiating a new lease:
for one, they claimed the tribes
did not have the authority to lease the land, because it was not
land, at which time the Colorado River Indian Tribes' Office of Attorney General
as evidence, a lawsuit already won: entitled U.S. V. Lonesome Valley
Land Company, Inc, in
which the Federal District Court, for the Central
District of California, confirmed that the land leased
by Blythe Boat Club is
owned by the United States, and is reserved (held in trust) for the Colorado
River Indian Tribes. This federal case law supports the Tribes assertion of
ownership and authority
in the Western Boundary area of the Colorado River
Indian Tribes' homeland.
Their second argument was that the past lease
"misidentified" the land; therefore, Blythe Boat Club
claimed their past
lease was invalid and the Colorado River Indian Tribes could not use it to evict
them - a claim unsubstantiated by any court in the United States of America.
After the Colorado River Indian Tribes' Court reviewed all
evidence and documentation regarding final
arguments, it granted the Tribes'
Motion for Summary Judgment, confirming Blythe Boat Club had no
evidence to support their arguments.
After considering all the evidence, documentation and
arguments in the case, the Colorado River Indian
Tribes Tribal Court granted the
Tribes' Motion for Summary Judgment, confirming Blythe Boat Club
substantial evidence to support their arguments.
The eviction process itself was mostly peaceable,
and as required by the Court, the Tribes allowed Boat
Club members to remove
their personal effects without interference. One member of the Club chose to
resist removal, and was escorted off the premises by Tribal Police officers.
Unfortunately, the member
reentered the premises, promising to peaceably
remove personal effects and exit the premises without
further dispute, but
subsequently refused again to leave
the premises. After being thoroughly apprised
of the legal ramifications of
her actions, during which time she acknowledged that she understood the
situation and the consequences of her actions, the member continued to refuse to
leave, was arrested
for criminal trespass, and removed from the premises by
Riverside County Sheriff's officers.
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Type: Press Release