Grand Canyon Skywalk


Take the dusty, bumpy and winding road, thousands of tourists find themselves Hulapai Indian reservation, packaged and looked over the edge to see a hole. The view is better, even glass perch Grand Canyon Skywalk - a 70-foot horseshoe-shaped deck over half a million above the ground. He brought smiles and amazement, but also a villain who threatens the entire continuing.

Wayne Hong's Hulapai Tribe. This is their land, and a sense of their Grand Canyon Skywalk. And 'essential economic component, which keeps alive the tribe. But the main visitor center is not complete and has not for years, all the tribes and the developer does not agree.

The developer, David Jin. The initial agreement, Jin would build a bridge and construction, and both parties would share the profits.

"We're not sure what his team is in place. We can only guess why he has not finished building," says Hong.

Jin is the fight against health problems and declined an interview, but his lawyer, Mark Tratos, spoke in his place.

"We had proposed to get it done and we said Tribal Council, we can not," he said.

Tratos says he is not the story of a wealthy developer snapshot enjoying an Indian tribe. In fact, he says, the opposite. According to many legal documents, although he would like, Jin can not leave the building because the tribe issued a stop work three years ago.

So far, little money in the surplus was given to both sides. Much is being held in a trust account. The tribe accuses Jin. Jin blames the Tribe.

There is a turnover and internal problems with Hulapai.

"There were four full table changes, rotations of the board and six different leaders," said Tratos.

And therefore a fact sheet incriminating leaders came in 2009, admitted to major financial problems with the operators of tribal Skywalk. Tratos said no one from the tribe knew where the money went.

"You in your own handwriting, saying that there are all these problems and yet today, all this is ignored and forgotten, and it is the fault of all David Jin?" he said.

Honga contest all allegations.

"I think it is a tactic - a distraction that Mr. Jin is configured to divert attention from the fundamental issue, which is bound by the terms of the contract," he said.

The original contract was undertaken Jin responsible for the construction of the building but also utilities: electricity and water. Tratos said the Skywalk was extended to a higher price for Jin, in turn, the tribe agreed to pay the acquisition and construction of power and water.

But instead of legal language and new additions traditional massive change in the case came in a little phrase at the end of a one-page letter signed by the chief financial officer of the tribe.

Honga that it is not binding and is a questionable move.

"In our opinion, the contract has not changed," he said.

Thus, the building is unfinished inside. Tribes can not simply seize through eminent domain and assert the sovereign immunity with American laws and rules do not apply. Tratos says that is the last resort, "decoy" against his client.

"Then," trap catch nab nab - Goth us. You have no rights against us. You can not lead us to a federal court can not take us to the tribal court, you can not do anything, "he said.

Addressing these issues to arbitration was a difficult process. The case has recovered from federal to tribal courts. This week, the judge said that each party has the tribe together again for more details on hashing.

Lawyers say the Hulapai sovereign immunity protects them from interference. At the same Skywalk continues to drive the generator with a small number of chemical baths.