Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino lays off most of 1,300 employees

COARSEGOLD, Calif. (KFSN) -- Most of the 1,300 employees at Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino have been laid off. Now, only a skeleton crew will remain.

The layoffs are the direct result of a federal shutdown caused by fighting among tribal leaders. More than a week ago, a dispute between two factions resulted in a lockdown at the casino. The federal government and the National Indian Gaming Commission have since stepped in to mediate.

A single-page letter sent out to Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino employees paints a dire situation for staff members. One line in particular: "We cannot anticipate the duration of this closure because the government entities will not tell us how long this closure will remain in effect."

The letter was sent to Action News from a laid-off employee, and we've confirmed of the 1,300 employees, all non-essential employees have been let go. No one in charge at the casino was available for comment Saturday. But people down the street in Oakhurst did have a few things to say about the layoffs.

"Lots of people are losing jobs, they're going to lose their homes and have to move and relocate, and it's just horrible," said Sierra Austin, an employee at Yosemite Gas.

Horrible not only for those employees but this town that's been already ravaged by fires and a drought.

"How much can an area sustain of little things or big things being taken away bits and pieces at a time?" said Robby Fleener, owner of Sugar Pine Gourmet Pizza.

The community, like Coarsegold, depends on tourism from the casino.

"It will have an impact; the word will get out eventually slowly on social media that that is no longer an availability. So it's strictly going to be based on Bass Lake visitation and Yosemite Park visitation," said Fleener.

The factions fighting over the casino meet this coming Friday in a court-ordered settlement conference.

Action News spoke to several employees who say they're disappointed it's come to this, but they couldn't talk on camera because they say they've signed confidentiality agreements with the casino. Many say they're now applying for unemployment.

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