Hualapai seek resolution of Skywalk dispute


To the editor:

I was appalled by developer David Jin’s misleading op-ed about the Grand Canyon Skywalk dispute in the March 3 Review-Journal.

As we’ve come to expect from Mr. Jin, he doesn’t hesitate to mischaracterize his relationship with the Hualapai Tribe in an effort to distract your readers from his unfair business practices. I appreciate the Review-Journal giving me an opportunity to share some actual facts.

As chairwoman of the Hualapai Tribe, I can tell you we are open for business. Much like every American Indian tribe across the country, we have hundreds of mutually beneficial relationships with off-reservation contractors.

Don’t take my word for it. Ask partners like David Huang of Chinese Host in Las Vegas, who brings thousands of tourists to the Skywalk every year. “Our daily business interaction (with the Hualapai Tribe) has been very smooth and seamless. We look forward to our continuing working relationship for as long as we are all in business,” Huang said in a statement emailed last week to reporters. He added that our relationship has been “very amicable and prosperous.”

Mark Slack, vice president of Papillon Airways in Las Vegas, echoed that sentiment: “Our companies have been under contracts with Grand Canyon Resort Corporation (the Hualapai Tribe’s tourism group) for many years. In all respects, GCRC has lived up to their agreements.”

My point? Our partnerships are successful because both parties consistently abide by the terms of the contracts we sign — something Mr. Jin failed to do.

After reading Mr. Jin’s op-ed, readers could also think that Sa’ Nyu Wa, the tribe’s business arm, is out of legal options. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sa’ Nyu Wa will appeal the judge’s ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and we are exploring a variety of other avenues.

Despite Mr. Jin’s assertions, I hope readers will remember that U.S. District Judge David Campbell’s ruling solely impacts Sa’ Nyu Wa, not the entire Hualapai Tribe. Judge Campbell made it clear that his order applies only to assets solely owned by Sa’ Nyu Wa. All other tribal funds are not subject to the ruling.

This issue has always been about fairness — about right and wrong. The Hualapai people entered into our development agreement with Mr. Jin nearly a decade ago with high hopes and in good faith.

Since the Skywalk’s 2007 opening, Mr. Jin has failed to complete a single project improvement spelled out in our agreement with him other than the glass bridge. Worse, he indicated that he had no intention of ever doing any further construction of the project improvements.

Sa’ Nyu Wa has always considered an array of legal options to bring this painful and avoidable matter to a resolution. That includes paying Mr. Jin fair market value for the Skywalk management agreement. We remain eager to move forward and find a resolution to this situation, but Mr. Jin has simply refused to negotiate in good faith.

The last thing our people wanted was a dispute that painfully plays out in court and the press. We also never expected the barrage of insults, disparagement and lawsuits from Mr. Jin and his spokespeople, who are clearly trying to harm our ability to conduct business on the reservation.

No professional organization, Indian or otherwise, should endure such egregious misconduct without taking legal action to protect its interests.

The Hualapai people remain eager to find a resolution with Mr. Jin. We call upon him to stop misleading your readers, clean up his shoddy business practices, accept fair-market value for the Skywalk contract and end this dispute.

SHERRY J. COUNTS

PEACH SPRINGS, ARIZ.

The writer is chairwoman of the Hualapai Tribe.

Constable’s office

To the editor:

In response to the Clark County Commission’s proposed ordinance to abolish the Office of Constable for Las Vegas Township:

When a private organization has leadership issues, a change of leadership usually solves most of the issues. For many years, the constable’s office has done an outstanding job without being cast in a negative spotlight or costing the taxpayers money. Its services are essential for our organization and the community as a whole. They serve many different types of legal notices such as evictions, liens, garnishments, summons and subpoenas. Don’t forget the abandoned vehicles that would otherwise litter our neighborhoods.

Who would do what the constable currently handles at no expense to the taxpayer? The Metropolitan Police Department is already stretched to the breaking point. To add anything to the workload would bring the process to a halt — not to mention increase response times.

Before we make any changes, perhaps we should consider what needs to be done with an elected official who cannot perform his job.

SHARON PETERSON

LAS VEGAS

The writer is the general manager of the Siegel Suites Tropicana.

To the editor:

As operator of a mobile home park that rents homes in Clark County, I have used the services of the constable’s office a few times over the years for summary evictions.

The officers have always been very professional. They call ahead to let us know when the eviction will take place. They arrive on time. They treat the people being evicted in a calm, respectful manner so a possibly stressful situation does not spiral into a confrontation. They always present the correct paperwork.

This work can be time consuming. I just can’t imagine the police doing this type of mundane work. Don’t the police have more important and urgent stuff to do?

Constables were always quiet and efficient doing their work until the latest constable, John Bonaventura, came along. Maybe what is needed is a better job description for this position, like requiring the person to have law enforcement experience.

Please do not eliminate the Las Vegas constable’s office because of one bad apple.

SUSAN OLMSTED

LAS VEGAS

The writer manages the Sierra Mobile Home Park.

 

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