Thursday, July 13, 2006

Abramoff and 4 Others Sued by Tribe Over Casino Closing

HOUSTON, July 12 — An Indian tribe sued the former superlobbyist Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed, a candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia, on Wednesday, seeking millions of dollars in lost revenues from a casino that the Texas tribe said had been fraudulently closed.

The suit, in Federal District Court in Austin, says Mr. Abramoff, Mr. Reed and three other men mounted a fake religiously themed moral crusade in 2001 to defeat a bill in the Texas Legislature that would have legalized gambling in Indian casinos.

Their real motive, the suit adds, was to promote the gambling interests of a tribe in Louisiana that was paying them to represent its interest in a competing casino.

Two former Congressional aides who pleaded guilty to corruption charges along with Mr. Abramoff were also named in the suit: Michael Scanlon, who worked for the former House majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas; and Neil Volz, formerly on the staff of Representative Bob Ney of Ohio. Jon Van Horne, who worked with Mr. Abramoff at his lobbying firm in Washington, was also named.

“This case chronicles Jack Abramoff and his associates’ greed, corruption and deceit and their devastating impact on Texas’s oldest recognized Indian tribe,” said the suit, filed by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas.