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Thunder Valley casino owners’ tribal council election returns incumbents

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - A hard-fought campaign for two seats on Thunder Valley Casino owner United Auburn Indian Community’s tribal council has ended with no change in leadership. A spokesman for the tribe said Monday that incumbents Kim Rey Dubac, the tribal council’s vice-chairwoman, and treasurer Brenda Conway, were re-elected by voters Saturday. Rey Dubac was challenged for a seat on the 275-member tribe’s decision-making council by former tribal chairwoman Jessica Tavares. Conway defeated former tribal council member Dolly Suehead. Both Rey Dubac and Conway garnered 58 percent of the vote, United Auburn Indian Community spokesman Doug Elmets said. The breakaway group had initially called for a recall of the tribal council. But their petition was denied by the tribe’s election council as incomplete. Soon after that challenge, Suehead, Tavares and five others had their benefits suspended. The decision to suspend the seven followed criticism from the splinter group of the tribal council’s handling of the recall petition and allegations against tribal lawyer Howard Dickstein that included mishandling of tribal funds. All of those allegations have been vehemently denied by tribal council representatives over the past six weeks of bitter back-and-forth debate. A total of 77 percent of the tribe’s 186 eligible voters cast ballots, Elmets said. Elmets said non-tribal members working for the breakaway group provided misleading information and the vote totals showed that the tactics didn’t work. “It can best be described as a renunciation of misrepresentations,” Elmets said. “It was a clear victory and the numbers speak for themselves.” Sacramento political consultant Steve Maviglio, who worked with Tavares and Suehead, could not be reached Monday for comment.