In his victorious 2003 recall campaign against Gov. Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger promised to exact financial concessions from wealthy casino tribes.
He proceeded to negotiate lucrative tribal compacts that gave California a cut of the action from a major expansion of tribal gambling.
But now many tribes — and the courts — are pushing back. And the governor is on a losing streak.
The latest blow came Tuesday. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Schwarzenegger administration wrongfully strong-armed a San Diego County tribe during unsuccessful negotiations over a casino expansion.
In a 2-1 opinion, the panel said the governor negotiated in bad faith by demanding that the tribe pay a share of casino profits into California's general fund in exchange for adding slot machines.
The court ruled that the demand constituted an improper attempt by the state "to impose a tax" in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
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