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Elk Grove Casino Draws Thousands Of Signatures In Opposition

ELK GROVE (CBS13) — Opponents of the Wilton Rancheria Casino in Elk Grove are raising the stakes in the fight to stop it.

The city is a big step closer to seeing the casino agreement put on a public ballot, after a delivery to Elk Grove city hall.

Inside the clerk's office sit boxes packed with petitions, each with hundreds of signatures that could lead to a referendum overturning a city council approved development deal for the proposed $400 million Wilton Rancheria casino resort.

City clerk Jason Lindgren's job is to count the signatures. Of the 14,000 submitted, 9.000 need to be validated for the petition to qualify.

"I'll probably have some sleepless nights, going through the voter registration," Lindgren said.

Almost as soon as the signatures were submitted, casino supporters filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission alleging that "no one knows the identity of the persons funding the referendum petition."

Region Business CEO Josh Wood called the signatures dirty, and funded by dark money.

"What we're trying to get is for the FPPC, the city and whoever else to help us put pressure on whoever this is, to just disclose who are you, and why are you doing this?," Wood said. "At the end of the day the voters have a right to know.

The owner of a company called "Discovery Petition Management" told CBS13 she paid signature gatherers over the past several weeks to get voters to sign their names the petition. She would not say who funded the campaign.

A law firm called "Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk" that specializes in election law helped turn the signatures in.

Chris Clark lives near the proposed casino site. He says the casino deal is so big, people who live here should be able to vote no matter whose money is behind the ballot measure.

"Yes there are some concerns about an unknown benefactor, but does that void the validity of the petition? I would say probably not," Clark said.

If a special election is held, it would cost the city of Elk Grove an estimated $500,000.

The city clerk has 30 business days to validate the petition signatures.

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