Arizona tribe votes to take over Skywalk

The Hualapai Tribe announced its intention to take control of the Grand Canyon Skywalk from Las Vegas businessman David Jin Wednesday.

According to a news release issued by the Hualapai Tribal Council, the council held a meeting on Tuesday and voted to exercise its rights under eminent domain to take control of operations at the Skywalk and terminate its contract with Jin.

Tribal Councilman Charles Vaughn said after working with Jin on several issues concerning the Skywalk, its visitor center and ticket sales for many years without success, the council had no other option.

Vaughn said the tribe is willing to pay a fair market price for the attraction in order to compensate Jin.

Jin's spokesman was unavailable for comment before press time.

Jin partnered with the tribe in 2003 to build the Skywalk, a glass-floored walkway that juts out over the edge of the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai Nation. The feature has been a major tourist attraction since it opened in 2007.

The tribe and Jin have battled in both federal and tribal courts over who is responsible for finishing the visitors center at the landmark, which controls the ticket sales and the division of profits from the ticket sales since 2008.

Both cases were dismissed, although the federal court did grant Jin the right to re-file a complaint against the tribe once he exhausted all efforts in the tribal courts.

"The Hualapai Tribal Council has always considered an array of legal options, including the payment of fair market value for the Skywalk management agreement, to protect the rights of the tribe and end this painful dispute," Vaughn said. "Our tribe has always been eager to move forward and negotiate a resolution to this situation, but Mr. Jin has made it impossible to provide a world-class attraction that tourists from around the globe deserve."