Tribe can manage Skywalk without developer

To the editor:

Your conclusions in Saturday’s editorial about the Grand Canyon Skywalk dispute were ill-informed and misleading to your readers. The Hualapai Tribal Council and I wanted to share some important facts and address any concerns in the Las Vegas community.

It was recently reported that the American Arbitration Association awarded Las Vegas developer David Jin millions of dollars as part of the ongoing contract dispute over management of the Skywalk. This unenforceable arbitration “award” is just another example of Mr. Jin’s army of attorneys attempting to confuse the issues in order to undermine our right to economic self-determination. We were disappointed that the Review-Journal editorial board failed to see through their spin machine, choosing instead to quote a tribal member disparaging his fellow Hualapais – without mentioning that this individual is Mr. Jin’s employee and has received thousands of dollars from the developer.

Here are the facts: Arbitration in this case can only be ordered by a federal court of competent jurisdiction. In our case, as a federally recognized sovereign nation, that would require an order from a U.S. District Court judge. That has not happened. The AAA has no authority in this matter, and we did not participate in the arbitration. As you’ll recall, each time Mr. Jin has brought lawsuits before the federal and tribal courts, he has seen his cases dismissed.

Another fact: We have 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 refused to negotiate in good faith.

It is also a fact that the Hualapai Tribe has been successfully managing operations at the Grand Canyon Skywalk since we terminated our contract with Mr. Jin. We are proud of this accomplishment and believe it bodes well for completing the work Mr. Jin failed to complete, while giving our tens of thousands of visitors the experience they deserve.

This issue has always been about fairness, about right and wrong. We 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 other than the glass bridge. Worse, he indicated that he had no intention of ever doing any further construction of the project improvements.

After the Skywalk opened, Mr. Jin’s company accepted the responsibility of handling all money paid by visitors to the unfinished attraction. The accountability for these funds has been nonexistent and was an abuse of Mr. Jin’s fiduciary trust.

Put simply, nothing that occurred during AAA’s invalid arbitration hearings changes any of those facts.

Please be confident that the Skywalk is being well-managed, and now has the potential to become the world-class attraction that we envisioned. We sincerely hope Las Vegas residents and people across our region will come see the majesty of Grand Canyon West for themselves.

Sherry J. Counts

Peach Springs, Ariz.

The writer is chairwoman of the Hualapai Tribe.

Another Obama visit

To the editor:

It is indeed curious that President Obama, who not very long ago was bad-mouthing Las Vegas as a tourism and business destination, has himself been spending a good amount of time here, particularly recently. In fact, he once again enjoyed the splendors of the Las Vegas Valley (at Lake Las Vegas) while preparing for his debate with Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

It is perhaps poignant that Lake Las Vegas happens to be the site of the only Ritz-Carlton hotel to have ever closed. That event occurred during the devastating economic downturn, while Mr.Obama was in the second year of his presidency.

Mr. Obama, now that the overall economy has been established to be “moving in the right direction” (according to your calculations), please give all Las Vegans a boost by encouraging tourism as a means toward helping our local economy, as well.

Nicholas J. Feduska, M.D.

Henderson

Helicopter noise

To the editor:

In response to your Wednesday story, “Obama’s three-day stay pinches pockets of helicopter tour operators”:

I was amused by Nigel Turner’s complaints of airspace restrictions because of the president’s visit to Southern Nevada. If Mr. Turner had to listen to his own helicopters flying over his home from daylight to sundown, maybe he wouldn’t be so quick to whine about them being temporarily relocated.

The only respite we homeowners receive is when there is inclement weather, which is rare, or a dignitary’s visit. So President Obama, I would like to offer you an extended stay in the Las Vegas Valley. Six months or longer would be nice.

Gary Luther

Las Vegas

Lost Advantage

To the editor:

With ObamaCare and health care in general at the forefront of every voter’s concern, I am very surprised and a little disappointed by the lack of reporting about the mass exit from Medicare Advantage plans.

What seniors have feared since health care reform became an major issue is coming true. The Democrats and AARP have sold them out. Many will be forced back into Medicare HMOs whether they want to or not, rather than pay the added premiums.

Joe Schaerer

Las Vegas

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