ELK GROVE (CBS13) – Residents living in Elk Grove are suing the city, accusing them of secret backroom deals to build a casino.
A 67-page petition filed Tuesday morning alleges the city illegally kept texts, emails and meetings from the public.
“They’re hiding something,” said Joe Teixeira, one of the plaintiffs in the complaint. “Open up the books. Show us the emails. Show us the phone calls. Show us the transcripts. Show us the meeting minutes.”
Teixeira, along with four of others, filed the petition against the city on Tuesday, accusing it of holding “a series of private meetings with representatives of the Wilton Rancheria tribe, Boyd Gaming and the Elk Grove Town Center in order to facilitate the approval of the casino/hotel without public notice.”
The residents say these communications violated the Brown Act, which prevents secret meetings of legislative bodies and guarantees the public’s right to be involved in important decisions.
“We want governance in the light of day,” Teixeira said. “We want to know what was discussed in those meetings!”
“The city of Elk Grove and council have always been committed to having an open and transparent city,” said Mayor Steve Ly.
He told CBS13 that city council members receive extensive training on handling public records requests and carefully complying with the Brown Act.
“I don’t believe anything the mayor says,” Teixeira said.
He told CBS13 they’ve filed 7 public records requests but have not received the communications they believe exist.
CBS13 reached out to Wilton Rancheria Tribe and received this statement from spokesperson Robert Magnuson: “This is a desperate media stunt by an out-of-town front group for a local card room that’s trying to stifle competition.”
“I’m just a citizen,” Teixeira replied. “I’m not desperate. I want the best for the city of Elk Grove. We want a mall, we don’t want a casino.”
The petitioners want to force the city to hold public hearings on the casino project. Meanwhile, Ly says he will be meeting with the city attorney to review details behind the suit.
The Elk Grove City Council approved the deal with Wilton Rancheria to build the casino last year.