Aston Martin Vantage GT
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Merida Manipoun filed suit in federal court November 16, claiming that she won a $134,000 Aston Martin Vantage GT in a drawing at Viejas Casino. The contest was arranged so that those who plunked the most money into slot machines would have the best chance of winning.

She dropped in plenty, according to the suit. But after allegedly winning the car, employees of the casino tried to pressure her into accepting a small amount of cash so that she could limit her taxes on the winnings. She refused, demanding the car. One of the defendants filled out a 1099 Form, listing her tax liability for the $134,000 windfall, according to the suit. The form was sent to the Internal Revenue Service, says the suit.

She went to Aston Martin of San Diego to claim the car. The dealership said they had no paperwork for the transaction, and wouldn't give her the car, according to the suit. Later, one of the defendants in the suit, a Viejas employee, told her she would not get the car but would still have the tax liability, according to the suit. So she filed suit against several employees of Viejas, and the Aston Martin dealership, claiming fraud, conspiracy to defraud, breach of unfair competition, and breach of unilateral contract.

Viejas was not sued because it is considered a sovereign nation, immune to such suits in United States courts. The suit has not been served, so getting the defendants' legal position is not practical at this point.

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Comments

Don Bauder Nov. 24, 2017 @ 10:58 a.m.

JustWondering. If the suit is successful, defendants won't be lol. Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering Nov. 24, 2017 @ 1:13 p.m.

DON: It was Ponzi’s comment I found witty and humorous simultaneously considering the topic of your story. Considering the pejorative “Indian giver” perfectly describes what appears to be a deceitful offer by the casino. Where, through what seems to be a bogus inducement, they want patrons to part with more of their dollars for a chance of winning a very expensive automobile. Yet, when called on it they’ll hide behind their “sovereignty”.

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Don Bauder Nov. 24, 2017 @ 5:06 p.m.

JustWondering: I knew it was Ponzi's comment that got the lol..It certainly appears to be a deceitful offer, but I need to get to the dealership and Viejas once the suit is served. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 24, 2017 @ 10:55 a.m.

Ponzi: That res;ones was inevitable.Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Nov. 24, 2017 @ 9:05 a.m.

The Indian bands get to have it both ways; sovereign when it suits them, and active in the local community (making election contributions) when that suits them. If they are sovereign, some of the rules about foreign involvement should apply, but do not now seem to have any relevance. But they cannot be sued, and don't have to follow federal, state, or local laws involving employment rights. I'd say that if you want to spend time on those reservations it would be a very good idea to remember that normal protections from injury, fraud, and who-knows-what-else are not there.

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Don Bauder Nov. 24, 2017 @ 11:02 a.m.

Visduh: Yes, if you get injured, say, riding a casino shuttle to the casino, don't expect to go to court and get damages. Best, Don Bauder

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CaptainObvious Nov. 24, 2017 @ 10:21 a.m.

Perhaps it is time to close the borders to those "sovereign lands", until they actually become sovereign. Generate their own power, install their own courts and prisons, grow their own food, etc. They are not "sovereign" at all, but dependant upon the USA to survive. When do the descendants of the "Californios" get to open casinos?

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Visduh Nov. 24, 2017 @ 10:34 a.m.

Agreed. This stuff about sovereignty is a historical artifact. Treaties with the tribes and bands have a defined meaning under the US Constitution. But around a century ago, the members of those tribes became citizens, and that should have ended the fiction that they were somehow sovereign too.

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Don Bauder Nov. 24, 2017 @ 5:12 p.m.

Visduh: Sovereignty may be an historical artifact, but our egregious historical abuse of the Indians is not. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 24, 2017 @ 5:10 p.m.

CaptainObvious: Given the way we slaughtered Indians, I don't begrudge the advantages we give them today. I feel the same way about African-Americans. They deserve some reverse discrimination, given our sorry history. Best, Don Bauder

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monaghan Nov. 24, 2017 @ 5:46 p.m.

Thank you, Don, for noting on Thanksgiving Day that the headline is pretty much White Europeans Trounce Native Americans and Descendants of Black Slaves in this country of ours. Even so, this is an interesting story about what one can and cannot recover from tribal casinos.

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Don Bauder Nov. 25, 2017 @ 10:56 a.m.

monaghan: The casino industry is dirty by nature. The same scam could happen in Vegas at a casino not owned by Indians. That is assuming the suit's charges are accurate, of course. Best, Don Bauder

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CaptainObvious Nov. 25, 2017 @ 11:44 p.m.

Ok Don, my forefathers built the pyramids and were converted into a layer of ash across Europe. What do I win?

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Don Bauder Nov. 26, 2017 @ 7:13 a.m.

CaptainObvious: That is the typical response to people who believe we owe something to the Indiana and African-Americans. Politically, it is an effective argument. Best, Don Bauder

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jnojr Nov. 28, 2017 @ 1:07 p.m.

"We"? Who's "we"? I didn't slaughter anyone. Neither did my parents, or theirs, or anyone in my family. Or, pretty much, anyone who's alive today. Neither are any "Indians" extant today the victims of any oppression, other than the $10,000+ per month that gets dropped into their laps just for existing.

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Don Bauder Dec. 1, 2017 @ 9:55 a.m.

jnojr: Your response is consistent with other positions you take. Yes, the people who slaughtered the Indians are no longer alive. But the people who kept the Indians in penury ARE still alive. Similarly, we don't have slave owners now, but we have plenty of people who have mistreated African-Americans. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Nov. 26, 2017 @ 8:25 a.m.

I notice they don't have to follow the no indoor smoking law in the casinos either.

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Don Bauder Nov. 26, 2017 @ 2:32 p.m.

Murphyjunk: I wrote a column on that several years ago but I don't know the situation now. Best, Don Bauder

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swell Nov. 24, 2017 @ 2:19 p.m.

Dagnabbit, I have to sign in again! Why can't Reader remember me?

So, she is taxed $134K or is the car worth $134K? Does the car come with James Bond enhancements (machine guns, bulletproof body, rotating license plate, submarine mode)? Eh, probably not at that price.

Would she have to pay an import tax on receipt from a sovereign nation? Will the same smog requirements apply? Is it possible to gracefully enter and leave this vehicle wearing a mini skirt?

I have many questions!

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Don Bauder Nov. 24, 2017 @ 5:15 p.m.

swell: Theoretically, she would be taxed on income of $134,000, not for that amount. We don't know what the tax would be. Best, Don Bauder

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rshimizu12 Dec. 1, 2017 @ 4:25 a.m.

The taxable income is whatever price Viejas paid the dealership for....! The import tax is listed on the dealer invoice that you see on the new car that they post on the car windows.

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Don Bauder Dec. 1, 2017 @ 9:58 a.m.

rshmizu12: Never having won anything at a raffle, I can't second-guess your remark. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 25, 2017 @ 11 a.m.

Shimizu Randall: If the charges are true, this would appear to be outrageous. But there may be variables we don't know about. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 25, 2017 @ 11:03 a.m.

Mike Murphy: The last Bond movie had me completely confused. Bond was in one casino one minute, then another halfway around the world the next minute, then in a third two minutes later. This left an old man (me) wondering if Bond had a Batmobile or his own jet. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Nov. 26, 2017 @ 8:23 a.m.

I noticed the same thing, but I do tend to doze off in my chair on long movies.

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Don Bauder Nov. 26, 2017 @ 2:34 p.m.

Murphyjunk: This one was pretty dull. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 25, 2017 @ 4:16 p.m.

Bill: As the item says, she turned down the alternative cash award and insisted on getting the vehicle. Two big points: As instructed, she dumped a lot of money in the slot machines to have a better chance at the vehicle. If we can believe the suit, she was told she would get the vehicle, and after she turned down the alternative cash, she didn't get the car but will get a fat tax bill. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 25, 2017 @ 4:18 p.m.

Shimizu Randall: Viejas is not named in the suit, but its emloyees are. Will it be required to produce records? Interesting. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 25, 2017 @ 4:23 p.m.

Bill West. Viejas is not named (sovereignty) but its employees and the auto dealer are named. It's possible a court would rule the employees and Aston Martin dealer have no liability. If so, Viejas may have gotten away with what you are charging the plaintiff with attempting. Frankly, I am suspicious about the defendants, the casino, and the plaintiff and her law firms. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Nov. 28, 2017 @ noon

Don: I believe there is still plenty more to this story.

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Don Bauder Nov. 28, 2017 @ 9:25 p.m.

Shimizu Randall: If Viejas never pays out in cash or the promised car, the tax liability should, in theory, be removed. But it would probably cost her money to get that done. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Nov. 29, 2017 @ 3:13 p.m.

Have to re-file using form 540 and 540X, I think. Took a long time to find that info, tax guy didn't even know. Mine is right in front of me because I'm writing another letter and sending my documentation to the Franchise Tax Board that has not sent check for several thousand dollar refund due to me, the IRS Dept of Treasury sent refund here a-year-and-a-half ago.

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Don Bauder Dec. 1, 2017 @ 10:02 a.m.

shirleyberan: Write the FTB and ask why your check has not arrived. Best,, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 30, 2017 @ 12:04 p.m.

Joshua Mackenroth: Dealing with Indian tribes and their casinos is hardly as bad as dealing with Syria. But you have to be careful dealing with an Indian casino. Indeed, you have to be careful dealing with a Las Vegas casino, too.

Gambling by definition is a dirty game. Lie down with the dogs and wake up with the fleas. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 30, 2017 @ 12:10 p.m.

Joshua Mackenroth: I am not aware of that auditing agreement that has not been honored.

But i repeat what I said above. The gambling industry is run by crooks -- Indian casinos and non-Indian casinos alike. They all have sticky fingers. Nevada will claim it regulates the casinos but the Nevada gaming commission is actually run by the bandits who run the casinos. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 30, 2017 @ 8:38 p.m.

Al Reis: We seized the Indians' land and forced them to live in penury. I don't begrudge their newly-found wealth. Best, Don Bauder

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