Sycuan TRIBE

May 2024: $350,000 and accruing!

December 2023: Not dead yet!

February 15, 2021

December 16, 2016, updated July 26, 2018

RE: 11th Anniversary letter to Sycuan Indians of the Kumeyaay Tribe



I've drawn my conclusions about Sycuan band members being party to the theft of my income property based on hard evidence and my recent correspondence directly with your chairman and tribal council members: Cody Martinez, Henry R. Murphy, LaShunna Davidson, Charlene Worrell, Alanna Sandoval, Shu Brown, Joshua Muse.


IntegrityIs Sycuan an organization of thieves operating under the colors of Tribal Sovereignty and Unfair Advantage?

I've updated my Sycuan blogs, complaints and open letters accordingly.

And I have published my new website to summarize my evidence and final arguments on public record in hopes people will learn the truth about what happened to me and my website and why.

And maybe benefit from my predicament, including life's greatest teachers of all hard lessons: Hindsight & Inevitability (top 10 lessons in life).


A man who ain't got his word is a cockroach - Tony Montana Scarface free poster.
Click to download high resolution poster.

Supporting evidence and arguments:

My and Chairman Cody Martinez's complete 2015-2016 series of unedited settlement discussion letters in this download PDF.
My original 2009-2015 Sycuan Casino protest blog.
For convenience, I've packaged an all-in-one folder of PDFs for DOWNLOAD in this .zip file (15MB). It contains full PDF copies of everything.
Download .zip last updated on 08/21/2018 for minor revisions.

Disclaimer:, including the and websites, are not affiliated with the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Nation, the Sycuan Tribal Government, the Sycuan Casino and Resort, the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming, the Sycuan Fire Department, the Willow Glen and Sycuan Golf Resort in El Cajon, CA, or Sycuan's off-reservation U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, or any other of countless Sycuan community and commercial enterprises that I may not know about or list. Nor do these websites have any affiliations with companies or organizations affiliated with Sycuan, including San Diego State University and San Diego Padres major league baseball team. The commentaries above and below are the opinions and views of Gary Ballard and he is solely responsible for their content. If you or your organization have any clarifications, concerns or input on the information contained on these websites, please CONTACT GARY at the link below.


RE: 1,000-day 2,920-day Indian Casino grievance letter

New Years, January 15, 2015

Dear Sycuan tribal members,


It was Christmas 2006 when I gave your casino executive a no-strings written offer for Sycuan to use my 20 years of copyrighted Sycuan photography free for all time BEFORE my complaint ever left his department.

I made him that offer so the negativity of his department's gross negligence and disrespectful responses did not follow us into the New Year — but he allegedly resigned without accepting my offer, your casino employees subsequently refused to discuss the problem and your former chairman refused to resolve the problems — so here we are entered into the 9th New Year with our business still unfinished, and the ensuing damages to my business and life compounding.

Further, since I AGREED TO ACCEPT YOUR TRIBAL COUNCIL’S PRICE TO SETTLE ALL PROBLEMS in December of 2008 — including legal transfer of my copyrights to the 50,000 or so Sycuan photographs and videos I produced over a 20-year period as a Sycuan contract photographer on a near-exclusive basis — I still have not heard back from Chairman Daniel Tucker regarding my acceptance letter despite writing him several follow-up letters asking for his administration’s response.  Further, I believe your tribal council’s settlement offer was the result of a former chairwoman working through a new administration to make good on her administration’s agreements with me before her death — yet my settlement payment is being withheld without explanation. Why?

And in what "responsible" system of government or business is offering "Sycuan's Price AND Sycuan's (grossly-ambiguous) Terms," take it or leave it, acceptable under these circumstances?

It is my opinion, your tribal leadership used its wealth, power, influence and tribal sovereignty to retaliate against me for speaking up for myself and to take unfair advantage of me in their one-sided 'negotiations' to protract and dispose of my grievance without resolution.

IN SUMMARY:  My complaint asserts that just after I brought the Sycuan Tribal Council my 100-percent valid grievance in January of 2007, I was immediately retaliated against, that untruths were said against my good name and that I was wrongfully terminated from projects I held for some 15 years; that Chairman Tucker apparently just decided not to honor the contractual agreements I made with your former chairwomen Anna Sandoval and Georgia Tucker, your casino executives, managers, employees, contractors, tribal members and even the contracts I made under his administration. Moreover, it appears Chairman Tucker and new tribal council members continue to bless the pirating of my photographs.

THE ORIGINAL ROOT OF MY GRIEVANCE is that your casino’s Creative Services employees and alleged contractors digitalized and archived hundreds of my best photographs after erasing, altering and separating my legal notices, copyrights and studio credits from my work.  Some of these pirated images had nothing to do with Sycuan contracts or Sycuan projects, they were produced on my own free time. And at least one major Sycuan historical book project credited my contemporary Sycuan photographs to another photographer!

Those flagrant contract breaches illustrate the problem:

No one at Sycuan can distinguish my property from Sycuan’s anymore and there is no realistic way to unwind these problems because the altered, unlabeled and degraded copies of my work surely span the redundant digital storage disks of many users and company backup archives.  Further, every time someone at Sycuan or down the road uses or releases my photographs from their unauthorized archives of my work — over the next 70 years until my copyrights expire — my family is being CHEATED out of my royalty income, and my professional legacy is severely degraded for all time because my unlabeled work has been passed around and put in the public domain without my legal notice of ownership or permission.


It includes my contractual “sole and exclusive rights,” copyright, to some 50,000 still Sycuan photographs, Sycuan websites and video projects I produced under contract with Sycuan over a 20-year period.  My personal investment in this work includes over 2,000 unbilled hours I spent developing my 350 gigabyte Sycuan digital archive on my free time.  And 4,500 hours of my personal free time spent creating and developing’s 250 gigabyte digital still picture archive, its video documentaries, its multimedia research and historical content, and the valuable GOODWILL associated with the brand I created from scratch.

My potential royalties for these large project archives could/should have provided generations of my family with millions of dollars in income over the 70-year life of my copyrights.

WELL, I’M NOT DEAD YET to inform you all the nightmare damage scenarios I warned your tribal council members about through direct discussions with your tribal legal director in 2008 have sadly come to fruition because of CONFLICTS directly related to my unresolved contract dispute with the Sycuan Indian tribe:

  1. My good name has been effectively blacklisted in the community where my 25-year business was established — this has crippled my ability to earn a living in my God-given profession and geographical area — though I don’t blame anyone for not hiring my services or associating with me with this crap on my work record even though there is not the slightest shred of evidence I did anything wrong.

  2. As a direct result of losing my good reputation in the community over my Sycuan complaint, I have had to start over in a new career field making less than 1/10th of my professional rate and sell off my business tools to keep a roof over my head.

  3. The Well of my Life's Work and Dreams has been poisoned over this complaint — I cannot even donate my massive multimedia archives and website to favorable institutions. I know because I wrote several formal letters to institutions trying to gift my massive digital archives away to move on and at least one wrote back stating they could not accept my gift until this Sycuan conflict was resolved.


My evidence documents how the destruction of my good reputation, professional career and Dream was set in motion by your tribal council members in 2007 for how they reacted to and later handled my respectfully asking a Sycuan Casino manager for an explanation (which I still have not received) — why it appeared he was rubbing my copyright and credits off my Kumeyaay map poster (again) and printing it into 36-inch posters (again) and depriving my family of income (again).

2004 left — 2006 right: Two unauthorized 36-inch map poster prints with my legal COPYRIGHT NOTICES and CONSULTANT CREDITS rubbed out — printed from Sycuan’s unauthorized digital archive of my work.  I produced the map on my free time and had delivered high-resolution files to your creative services employees for a print advertisement and TV commercial.

I can only imagine how you or anyone else might react when presented with similar hard evidence that strongly suggests people are stealing from you (again), and erasing your name off your property (again), and plagiarizing your income property (again), and depriving your family of income (again) after they were previously noticed verbally and in writing numerous times that doing so are serious breeches of existing contracts and copyright laws. 

Moreover, living under this oppressive cloud of injustice the past eight years has negatively impacted every aspect of my Being....

Yes, you may say — "It's too bad about Gary, but (insert any excuse you like)" — it doesn't change the facts:

You and your children continue to receive unjust enrichment at the expense of my royalty retirement income and my family members for Sycuan's continuing unauthorized use and release of my copyrighted photography from Sycuan's illegitimate digital archive of my commercial photography.

This opinion is pointless for anyone to argue otherwise or to somehow rationalize in their minds that I am the Bad Guy here for speaking up for myself considering my crystal clear contract terms and documentation and Sycuan's subsequent unauthorized media releases of my intellectual property. It is mean and cruel to punish me like this for other people's wrongdoings when one has the intelligence and resources to do the right thing by those who served your people loyally with great honor, dedication and grace.

With the evidence contained in this letter and its on-line availability — it is disheartening to see your new chairman and tribal council members still apparently condoning the dishonoring of my Sycuan contractual agreements and ultimately cheating me and generations of my family members out of the equity I built up over my fruitful and positive 20-year career at Sycuan.

BUT IN ANY CASE:  The only thing former Chairman Tucker accomplished — aside from taking many of my best Sycuan pictures and keeping my settlement offer in Sycuan’s coffers — was ultimately destroy a good, hard-working person who was working diligently in Sycuan's and the community's favor despite having the facts and clear and convincing evidence in his hands from the beginning.

In my 2008 meeting with Chairman Tucker and Sycuan Business Committee tribal council members, Chairman Tucker said at the start of the meeting, "Why are we here?". After I summarized the problems, including my wrongful termination claims, he said several times, "That's not how Sycuan Does business." But the evidence strongly suggests that is exactly how Sycuan does business (at least under Danny Tucker's leadership).

But again, how is this "fair and responsible governance"? (I striked through the "fair" part of Sycuan's mission statement tagline as it was stated when I worked for Sycuan because "fair" appears to have been stricken from your current version sometime in the past few years – very interesting...).




Pictured 2007 -- I worked for you 1989-2010 as an independent contractor on a near-exclusive basis and was unfairly terminated for respectfully asking a Sycuan casino manager why it appeared he was rubbing my copyright and credits off my work (again) and printing it into 36-inch posters (again). Moreover, I've seen proof that your have hundreds of my best Sycuan photographs illegitimately digitally archived and are cheating me and my family out of my royalty income.

Pictures evidence doesn't lie:

I produced my Kumeyaay Nation map on my own free time for and it was never billed under a Sycuan project.

2004 left — 2006 right: Two unauthorized 36-inch map poster prints with my legal COPYRIGHT NOTICES and CONSULTANT CREDITS rubbed out.

I am not sure how I could NOT have asked your creative manager for an explanation since it was an ongoing issue and I had his personal written assurance it would not happen a second time, but here's the picture of it on the right.

February 7, 2013 (news)
January 1, 2012 (sixth New year to my family)
April 1 , 2011 (five-year update)
June 22, 2009 (private letter to the Sycuan people)

October 27, 2009

RE: Open Letter to Sycuan, a 1,000-day grievance process against casino managers

Dear Sycuan band members,

This Web page and my separate public blog (read my public blog) are all about my 1,000-day grievance against casino managers and how your tribal council dealt with it — your council did not give me closure and 20 years worth of my intellectual property remains in limbo at Sycuan.

I wrote you all a private OPEN LETTER (below) on June 22, 2009 — that included many of the documented facts of my complaint — but I don't believe it was made available to you. Thus, my public blog (and this letter) are being published to set the record straight, to explain how Sycuan got my photographs, and what happened to my business as a consequence of asking one of your casino managers for an explanation.

If this is all news to you, then that's too bad, but I don't know what else to do.

If you have any questions or you want to review my complete unedited private OPEN LETTER for the undisputed facts and evidence of my complaint — feel free to CONTACT ME.

My intention at this late date is to finish our business at Sycuan so I can move on.



7th New Year February 7, 2013


6th New Year January 1, 2012

After 1,840-plus days, I posted an explanation to my family.


After 1,500-plus days with no closure in sight...

I have posted an update, including some of the detailed evidence I originally included on this letter to the Sycuan people PLEASE READ THE EVIDENCE.

Logo Home

June 22, 2009

Sycuan Band of The Kumeyaay Nation
5459 Sycuan Road
El Cajon, CA 92019

RE: (PRIVATE) Open Letter, 900-day grievance process

Tip: To navigate the links on this page, please use your browser BACK BUTTON.
Edits: "[ ]" denote words edited for privacy.

Dear Sycuan band members and your tribal council: Daniel J. Tucker, Ricci LaBrake, Candelita Billingsly, Cody J. Martinez, Pilar T.A. Pettiford, Orlando Sandoval, Deedra Tucker,

After 19 years working for you, these are hard points to make because I remember a time not too long ago when I was made to feel like family on the reservation, and many of us were working hard together towards common goals and having fun.


Yet there are many people at Sycuan that I like and respect — and this writing is to provide them with some undisputed facts to draw their own conclusions about how Gary Ballard did business at Sycuan Casino — and how your tribal administration responded to my subsequent grievance against your executive casino management (because it leaves me with substantial unfinished business at Sycuan that needs to be resolved).

I believe my original grievance and this writing are warranted because of the pattern of *flagrant casino contract breaches that began on June 13, 2000, during my very first meeting with your new Casino Executive — the *straw(s) that eventually broke the camel's back*how my subsequent grievance was (allegedly) handled on a tribal level (without giving it any time to cure).

And most specifically today: *Because Sycuan quit responding to my letters leaving me to *draw my own conclusions, and leaving me to do what a man has to do to stand up for his good name and life's work.


I have served you (the Sycuan people), your casino, your employees, your guests and your community loyally — with Honor, Dedication and Grace — and there is not even the slightest shred of evidence to even remotely suggest otherwise.

Moreover, I have performed every Sycuan contract over the past 19 years and I have never been notified of a single complaint against me or the quality of my work....

NO RESPONSE TO E-MAIL, LETTERS — the problem today

Over 900 days have passed since I put my detailed grievance in your Legal Director's hands — the problem today is — your legal director has not responded to my letters for more than 187 days now.

In fact, 118 days ago, I sent a letter directly to Chairman Tucker (via his executive assistant's E-mail) to try and restart our dialogue because the chairman told me in our December meeting that employees don't speak for the tribe — "that's not how Sycuan does business," Chairman Tucker said — and he added that I should come to the tribe if I am having problems with Sycuan employees.

LEFT TO CONCLUDE — most regretfully:

Because 187 days have now passed with no response to my detailed Counter Offer, dated December 17, 2008, and my subsequent letters to your Legal Director and Chairman — I am left to conclude this administration has no intention of responding to my letters or providing me with the "fair review of the facts and timely closure" I asked your Tribal Council for in writing 308 days ago....

I have edited (omitted) the rest of this letter for this public posting — including the clear and convincing detailed facts and evidence of my complaint — but you may be assured I have all the e-mails, photographs and such to back up my claims.

*These hyper-links to my evidence were disabled before I made this letter public — I included some of my evidence on my FIFTH ANNAVERSARY UPDATE. April 1, 2011 (click to go to my most recent page to review a summary of my evidence).

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