Tribal Work by Greg Sarris
Greg Sarris is currently the Tribal Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. He is in his thirteenth elected term as Chairman of the Tribe and is currently leading the Tribe in its economic development endeavors with Station Casinos. Greg oversees all business negotiations and the daily operations of the Tribe. Greg spearheaded the effort to build a casino, the Graton Resort and Casino, which opened November 2013. A large portion of the profits from the casino will be given back to the community where it is located, Sonoma County and the City of Rohnert Park, for the preservation of public parks and open spaces, and for the establishment of low-cost organic farming for low income members of the community. Learn more about Greg Sarris and all that he has accomplished for his tribe and community.
Greg Sarris plans Economic Development
In April 2003, Greg solicited bids for business partners. The Tribe entered into an agreement with Station Casinos, Inc. to acquire land for its Reservation to develop and manage a destination resort hotel and casino. The Tribe borrowed over $225 million from Station Casinos for the purchase of the property that became the Tribe’s Reservation and for the pre-development costs of the Graton Resort and Casino.
At the request of elected officials and local environmental groups, the Tribe twice moved the proposed location of its Reservation to respond to local land use and environmental concerns. The Reservation consists of 254 acres of land: 64 of which will be used for the development of the Graton Resort and Casino, the remainder of which will be held for open space and mitigation.
Full Environmental Review
In February 2004, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) began preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Project. The final EIS, published in February 2009, includes a comprehensive analysis of eight different alternatives. The Tribe agreed to implement all mitigation measures identified in the Record of Decision approving the EIS.
Land into Trust
On October 1, 2010, the United States Department of the Interior accepted the 254-acre site into trust and established the Tribe’s Reservation. The NIGC has determined that the lands within the Tribe’s new reservation constitute “Indian lands” and are eligible for gaming.
Compact With State of California
Led by Greg’s skillful lobbying and political savvy, on March 27, 2012, the Governor of California signed a gaming compact with the Tribe to conduct Class III gaming. The compact was then ratified by the California Legislature and approved by the Secretary of the Interior in July 2012. The Compact, which will directly benefit the Tribe’s nearly 1,300 citizens, the local community, and the State, includes the following provisions:
- The Compact establishes the Graton Mitigation Fund for the purpose of mitigating the impact of the Tribe’s gaming operation on the local community and requires that the Tribe pay up to 15% of gross income to the Graton Mitigation Fund. Revenues from the Graton Mitigation Fund will be distributed on a quarterly basis to the City of Rohnert Park and Sonoma County in amounts ranging from at least an estimated $10 million per year, to an estimated $36 million per year or more, in the later years of the Compact, with the remainder being paid to the RSTF and a new fund, the Tribal Nation Grant Fund, to provide grants to assist California tribes.
- The Compact protects the health, safety, and welfare of employees and patrons of the gaming facility.
- The Compact protects the environment during the construction and operation of the gaming facility and any expansion thereof.
- The Compact ensures the integrity of the gaming operations through regulation and regular audits.