Tex McDonald talks about jail and the future of Chukchansi Casino

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The man arrested last year after a fight at Chukchansi Casino is talking about his time in jail and his hopes for the tribe.

Tex McDonald is no longer the tribal chair. He says he likes it better that way. Thursday he sat down to discuss why he accepted a plea deal and what is standing in the way of the casino re-opening.

McDonald has spent the past few weeks getting caught up on all he missed while he was locked up.

"I am doing a lot of yardwork and I've been coming over here," said McDonald. "Yesterday I came over here to clean up and getting the feel of everything."

He is no longer the leader of what was known as the Tex McDonald Faction, and he is fine taking a back seat.

"It's a big responsibility, you have a lot to think about, and I did my, I tried what my solution was to work and it didn't," said McDonald. "So I'm going to let somebody else try theirs."

Chukchansi Casino remains closed, a federal court hearing to determine the future of the property will take place in 2016. For now, McDonald is still involved as a tribal council member, but focusing on his family. Two of his sisters are battling cancer.

McDonald explained, "That was the main reason I took the deal was to help them to cross over into the spirit world."

Days after his release McDonald met with the other tribal faction. So far, he says no conflicts were resolved and there is still a deep division.

"Our goal is to open the casino, that's what our council wants, to open the casino," said McDonald. "But everybody has to work together to do it. That is the main problem we are facing right now."

For the moment, McDonald says, he is operating out of his tribal offices across the street from the casino. He says he has not stepped foot on casino grounds, for fear it will cause even more problems with the other faction.

Tex McDonald says he would like the federal government to audit and investigate the financial records of the casino to determine whether the books are balanced for the future.

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