From: alra@governance.net
Subject: WA - Tribal Leader Accused Of Threats -- This Paper Got The Facts

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WA - Tribal Leader Accused Of Threats -- This Paper Got The Facts


Casino foe says tribe leader threatened her

Longview Daily News
By Sally Ousley
Feb 16, 2006 - 06:41:58 am PST

The chairwoman of a group challenging the Cowlitz tribe's La Center casino project said the leader of the tribe's project threatened to embarrass her and her family in public if she did not ease her opposition to the project.

Kamie Biehl said she resigned from the Stand Up for Clark County Citizens group after a 20-minute phone conversation Feb. 7 with David Barnett, who is leading the tribe's effort to build the $510 million resort/casino.

Biehl is seeking a protection order against Barnett. Her request is pending in Clark County District Court and is scheduled for a hearing Feb. 24. Barnett denies her allegations.

In a statement filed in court, Biehl accuses Barnett of telling her to remove certain documents off the Stand Up Web site or she "would regret it."

Barnett also allegedly said he was developing a Web site with photos of her buying beer. She also said Barnett would accuse her son, Jakob, 15, of using drugs. She said in the court papers that Barnett told her if she didn't immediately stop opposing the casino, that he would distribute flyers that contained embarrassing information.

Biehl taped almost five minutes of the conversation. Barnett's voice was recognizable to a Daily News reporter who listened to the recording Wednesday. Biehl's caller ID also shows Barnett's phone number and the time of the call -- 6 a.m.

Biehl, 41, told The Daily News that she did not tell Barnett she was recording the conversation, a violation of state law.

The conversation stunned her, reported Biehl, whose great-grandmother was Paiute Indian,

"We've had cordial conversations in person and over the phone," said Biehl, a homemaker who has lived in La Center 13 years. "We've talked about kids and family and our love of Indian heritage."

Barnett said he did not give Biehl permission to tape the phone call, but when asked to acknowledge that he called Biehl at 6 a.m. Feb. 7, he said he wouldn't comment further. He referred a reporter to his Vancouver attorney, Steve Horenstein.

Horenstein said he's aware Barnett and Biehl have had numerous conversations in the past, but he doesn't know whether Barnett made this particular call.

Following the alleged phone call, Biehl, the mother of two children, she became increasingly upset.

"I felt so horrible," she said. "Putting my kids in this, I felt selfish. I've lost time with my family because of this thing."

Biehl also said Barnett has threatened her during past phone calls.

Biehl devoted much of her time in the last three years to fighting against the project, holding demonstrations, lobbying in Washington, D.C., and helping produce a book and documentary about the impacts of tribal casinos on communities.

"I've made a lot of sacrifices for this cause But as a mom, I was thinking, 'What have I done?' and 'What was I thinking to involve my family in this?' No more, " she said, explaining her reasons for resigning from the Stand Up for Clark County Citizens.

Her family, though, is supportive and doesn't want her to quit.

"I don't want her to give up," Jakob, a freshman at La Center High School, said. "I think everyone should be outraged."

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