Senecas' role in casinos expanded - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

Making good on a campaign promise to increase the Seneca Nation's control over its casinos and impress the bond market, Seneca President Barry E. Snyder Sr. said he will now serve as full-time chairman of the Seneca Gaming Corp.

His expanded role is among several changes enacted by the Tribal Council, which modified the gambling corporation's charter so that all major decisions regarding the tribe's two casinos now rest with the elected councillors, officials said Saturday.

Snyder's new duties are also intended as a signal to the bond market. "The nation may go back to the bond market for additional funds to build a casino or hospital or schools, and we want to be able to prove the nation has been accountable," Snyder said.

Last year, the Seneca Nation raised $300 million through the sale of bonds to build a 26-story hotel and spa at its Niagara Falls casino and construct its Salamanca casino. The tribe is also expected to build a third casino in Erie County.

In addition, Mickey Brown, chief executive officer of the gaming corporation, will soon resign, Snyder said.

Snyder, who resigned last week as chief executive officer of the nation - directing the tribe's day-to-day business operations - will receive an annual salary of $100,000 as gaming corporation chairman.

Other directors on the gaming corporation's board who are not employed by the Seneca Nation will be paid $40,000 annually, according to action taken by the Tribal Council.

In the past, the gaming corporation's board of directors and its chairman received $500 per meeting, nation officials said.

Replacing Snyder as the nation's chief executive office is Tribal Councillor Richard Nephew, who serves as Snyder's chief of staff.

The Tribal Council approved Nephew's new appointment.

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