Shingle Springs tribe compact amended: Change saves tribe money; county deal shifted

By From page A1 | November 26, 2012

Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and the Shingle Springs Tribe of Miwok Indians, who run the Red Hawk Casino in Shingle Springs, signed an amended tribal compact on Nov. 15.

The amended compact, according to a press release from the tribe, “is designed to facilitate a refinancing of the casino’s financial structure, placing it on sound financial footing.” The previous compact gave more revenue to the state and other parties than to the tribe.

This amended compact is critical to improving the position of the tribe’s Red Hawk Casino and benefits the tribe, the casino and our dedicated team members,” Tribal Chairman Nicholas Fonseca said. “Gov. Brown recognizes that this amended compact is good for all of us and ensures the long-term financial prosperity of the tribe and its casino.”

However, the amended compact requires the casino to decrease the number of slot machines it runs from 5,000 to 3,000, said tribe General Counsel AmyAnn Taylor. In 2020, the casino can raise that to 4,000, still below the original number.

Fonseca noted the amended compact will allow for the tribe to continue to provide jobs to both members of the tribe and the local community in the casino and the tribal-run medical center, open to the public.

In a county Memorandum of Understanding, the county will pay the tribe $2.6 million per year, Taylor said. Originally, the tribe was to pay $5.2 million per year for a high-occupancy lane  —c ommonly referred to as the carpool lane — on Highway 50. However, Taylor said, the county was able to find the money elsewhere.

“Since the county was able to find other funding for those HOV lanes, it requested that the agreement be amended to allow that money to be used for public improvement inside a specified area as designated on a map,” Taylor said. “In exchange for the tribe allowing the money to be used for broader uses and to support the tribe in its health care efforts, the county pledged to donate $2.6 million per year to the tribe for health purposes. This will greatly assist the tribe in continuing to provide care for the community, especially those who can’t find care anywhere else.”

The amended compact will be sent to the state Legislature for approval. “This amended compact allows our gaming enterprise to be in a position to continue to help our tribal citizens, the state and our local community,” Fonseca said. “We look forward to its passage.”

Cole Mayer

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