here's the second half
By 1999, Mr. Abramoff, the lobbyist, had hired Mr.
Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, on
behalf of the Coushatta tribe of Louisiana, which had
a casino in Louisiana near the Texas border and wanted
to block competition in Texas. Mr. Reed was to drum up
support among conservative Christians for Mr. Cornyn's
legal attack on the Tigua casino.
Mr. Senclair has a file folder with 250 e-mail
messages from Mr. Abramoff; his partner, Michael
Scanlon; Mr. Reed; and others that he says outlines
tactics for closing the Tigua casino and, after it was
closed, for getting money from the Tiguas to win its
The messages were provided by the Senate Committee on
Indian Affairs, which has been investigating whether
Mr. Abramoff and others defrauded Indian tribes. The
committee plans to hold hearings this month on its
findings, said Andrea Jones, a spokeswoman for the
committee chairman, Senator John McCain, Republican of
In one message dated Feb. 11, 2002, the day of the
court ruling against the Tiguas, Mr. Abramoff wrote to
Mr. Scanlon: "I wish those moronic Tiguas were smarter
in their political contributions. I'd love us to get
our mitts on that moolah!! Oh well, stupid folks get
Four days later, the Tigua leaders say, Mr. Abramoff
arrived in El Paso with a plan to reopen the casino by
getting a powerful Republican congressman to insert an
amendment in an unrelated bill.
The cost was $4.2 million paid to Mr. Scanlon, $2
million of which he sent to Mr. Abramoff, according to
the Senate investigation. The Tiguas were also told to
make $300,000 in political contributions to
Republicans in Washington or to their political action
committees, which they did, Mr. Senclair said.
To Mr. Diamond, the tribe's lawyer, the Tiguas were
not naïve. Everything Mr. Abramoff promised to do he
had done for other tribes, and his plan was the same
as one their previous advisers had proposed.
But, Mr. Senclair said, "We were betrayed."
Earlier this year the Tiguas got back about half the
$4.2 million in a settlement with Mr. Abramoff's
former law firm over his role in working to close and
then reopen the casino.
Andrew Blum, a spokesman for Mr. Abramoff's lawyer,
said it was a lie to suggest that Mr. Abramoff had a
conflict of interest. Mr. Abramoff was not trying to
get the Tigua casino closed, Mr. Blum said. Instead,
he was taking aim at another Indian casino near
Houston, and when the Tigua casino closed, "Mr.
Abramoff then sought to help the Tiguas where he
could," Mr. Blum said in an e-mail message.
But the slot machines are still gone, replaced by
"entertainment machines" that dispense only credits
for consumer goods. And the years of prosperity are
slipping away. Lori Rivera, 40, once the supervisor in
the casino's cashier's office, is in many ways the
embodiment of the tale. She grew up in a one-room mud
shack without running water or electricity. She got a
job in the casino, and as the profits rolled in, she
became eligible for a new house on a reservation of
300 acres of former pecan orchards that the Tiguas had
The new reservation looks like an upscale subdivision
of two-story homes. At its entrance is a large fitness
center with a weight room, a basketball court and an
Olympic-size swimming pool. But on a recent afternoon,
the pool was empty. Too many people have had to leave
El Paso to find work, said Carlos Hisa, the tribal
Ms. Rivera is worried about what will happen to her
two grandchildren, as the tribal leaders have begun
cutting stipends for school.
"Before the casino, most Tigua kids didn't stay in
school because they were so poor they couldn't afford
shoes, and they were embarrassed," Ms. Rivera said.
"Everything was going really well. Now we're going