Here are the Tribal Business Briefs for August 24, 2020.

Mergers and Acquisitions

The Kalispel Tribe of Indians submitted a bid to purchase the assets of an Usk, Wash.-based papermill, according to a report in The Spokesman-Review. Tribal Vice Chair Curt Holmes told the Spokane-based media outlet that its chief financial officer had “reviewed all the possibilities” for the Ponderay Newsprint Co., which shuttered its operations in June and eliminated about 130 jobs. Holmes told the Spokesman-Review that it hoped to reopen the paper mill and restore the jobs. The amount of the bid was not disclosed, but it is one of several plans submitted to rescue Ponderay Newsprint from Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  

Investment Funds

The nonprofit Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF), which is devoted solely to serving the Native American farming and ranching community, selected Neuberger Berman to serve as investment manager. NAAF conducted a rigorous, multi-step, nation-wide Request for Proposal process with a selection criteria focused on responsiveness, socially responsible investment opportunities and a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, including a commitment to Native American employee and client relationships. With approximately $266 million in funding, NAAF is the single largest philanthropic organization devoted solely to serving the Native American farming and ranching community. 

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy appointed an investment executive from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium as trustee for the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., according to a report on Alaska Public Media. Dunleavy appointed Ethan Schutt to a four-year term for the $67 billion fund managed by a state-owned corporation and fueled by oil-and-gas revenues. Schutt (Athabascan) hails from the interior community of Tok. He served as general counsel for Tanana Chiefs Conference and also oversaw the energy investment portfolio for Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI).

Indian Gaming

A county board in North Carolina is opposing a $273 million tribal casino project underway by the South Carolina Catawba Tribe, according to a report in The TopSail Advertiser. Last week, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted 6-1 against the casino project in King Mountains, N.C., saying it would hurt investment and jobs already provided by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ two casinos in the region. The Catawba broke ground on their project last month, despite a lawsuit by the Eastern Band of Cherokees. 

The gaming affiliate of the Jamul Indian Village of California reported that it has filed a lawsuit against a subsidiary of American International Group, Inc. (AIG). Jamul Indian Village Development Corporation, which runs the tribe’s Jamul Casino, is suing AIG’s Lexington Insurance Company for denying coverage related to the tribal casino’s losses related to COVID-19. "Jamul believes that Lexington didn't interpret our policy correctly and has wrongly denied coverage," said Erica M. Pinto, Chairwoman of the Jamul Indian Village Development Corporation Board of Directors. Jamul is seeking payment for its COVID-related losses, including business interruption damages, cleaning and disinfection expenses, and attorney's fees and costs. The lawsuit notes that Jamul distributes revenues earned from the casino's operations to the tribe, which uses those revenues to support governmental programs for elders, youth, health, safety, housing and education.

Scientific Games Corporation (SGC) has launched retail sports betting at the FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Mich., owned by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi. SGC also said it will work with the tribe to introduce digital sports betting, making FireKeepers the first tribal gaming operation to launch sports betting in Michigan, according to a news report on SBC Americas.  

Government Contracting

Alaska Northstar Resources, LLC (ANR) announced a 3-year contract with the United States Air Force worth $9.2 million. Under the contract, the company will provide the USAF’s Business Enterprise Systems with cloud system and database support services. Additionally, ANR was awarded a one-year, $7.9 million software development contract with the USAF’s Air Education And Training Command. Alaska Northstar Resources, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Shee Atiká, Inc., an urban corporation organized pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. ANR is an SBA-certified Alaskan Native Corporation (ANC) 8 (a) small business.

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Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online Staff