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ST. CROIX CHIPPEWA TO OWN GAMING EQUIPMENT AT PROPOSED HUDSON CASINO

 TURTLE LAKE, Wis., Nov. 25 ~PRNewswire~ -- The St. Croix Band of Chippewa and Buffalo Brothers Management Inc. today announced an agreement that calls for tribal ownership of all gaming equipment for the proposed casino at the St. Croix Meadows Dog Track in Hudson, Wis.
 The St. Croix Band of Chippewa and Buffalo Brothers Management Inc. also announced that they are seeking a modification of the St. Croix Casino management agreement to allow financing of capital expenditures by the tribe. If the modification is approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the tribe has agreed to purchase gaming equipment which is currently being leased from a Buffalo Brothers leasing company for use at St. Croix Casino.
 Tribal chairman Don Saros said the announcements were necessary "in light of intense scrutiny over the proposed casino. I feel it is in the tribe's interest to go on record saying that the gaming equipment needed for the Hudson casino will be owned by the tribe as opposed to being leased.
 "This is an agreement that was reached some time ago, but recent inquiries concerning our relationship with the management company have become heated with the upcoming referendums on the dog track sale to the tribe. There should be no question in the minds of the community that the facility will be operated with the best interests of the community and the tribe in mind," Saros said.
 The modification concerning the financing of capital expenditures for the St. Croix Casino in Turtle Lake was submitted to the bureau earlier this year, and tribal officials anticipate approval by the end of the year. According to the bureau, the modification "has been properly submitted and is under review."
 Under the terms of the management agreement modification, the Chippewas would be permitted to borrow money to make needed capital expenditures related to the casino. The current agreement does not allow for additional financing.
 "At the time the current casino management agreement was negotiated, the tribe was in debt and no one had any way of knowing what revenues might be generated by the casino," Saros said. "Now the tribe is making money with the casino and is in a much better position to finance items such as gaming machines, hotels and golf courses. And the management company has encouraged and supported our efforts to modify the management agreement."
 "We're pleased that the tribe is in a position to make these types of arrangements given bureau approval," Roy Palmer, secretary general of Buffalo Brothers said. "At the time, the original management agreement was fair, given the financial situation of the tribe. But with its improved financial picture, tribal ownership of gaming equipment makes a lot of sense."
 According to Saros, the tribe has agreed to purchase all the slot machines currently being leased to the casino as well as the casino's electronic data-tracking system should the contract modification be approved.
 "All casinos in Wisconsin leased their machines from leasing companies through so-called bucket leases," Saros said. "In the case of St. Croix Casino, it so happens that the leasing company is a Buffalo Brothers affiliate. With the success of the casino, both our tribe and the management company realized that it was in the best interests of the tribe to eliminate the leasing agreement, but to do that we need permission to finance the purchase of the machines. BIA approval of the management agreement modification will let us do this."
 Terms of the machine sale will allow the tribe to purchase the equipment by assuming any current financing. Saros said that all recently purchased slot machines were bought directly by the tribe under its agreements with the management company, and that those machines will be installed at the casino in Turtle Lake.
 -0- 11~25~92
 ~CONTACT: William Fuesz of Colle & McVoy, 612-851-2525, for The St. Croix Band of Chippewa~


CO: The St. Croix Band of Chippewa; Buffalo Brothers Management ST: Wisconsin IN: CNO SU:

AL -- MN012 -- 1679 11~25~92 17:27 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 25, 1992
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