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A weekly round-up of business briefs from around Indian Country.  

Capital Formation

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) expanded its definition of persons and entities that qualify as "accredited investors" for purchasing securities in private companies.   For the first time, Native American tribes and entities formed under tribal law are now included within the definition of "accredited investor" provided that the tribe or entity owns investments in excess of $5 million and that the entity was not formed for the specific purpose of investing in the securities offered.

Indian Gaming & Hospitality

A ruling by California’s Supreme Court ruling paved the way for the North Fork Rancheria Hotel & Casino Resort. The court ruled that former Gov. Jerry Brown acted within his authority in concurring with 2011 federal decisions that led to the approval of off-reservation tribal gaming projects in Yuba County and Madera County. With the ruling, the North Fork Mono Indian Tribe will move forward with the project, which includes a 200-room hotel and a casino with 2,000 slot machines and 40 table games. 

The Catawba Nation’s controversial $273 million casino in North Carolina unveiled the resort’s new name and unveiled its logo. The Two Kings Resort, located in Kings Mountain, NC, also pays homage to King Hagler, chief of the tribe from 1754-1763. New York-based hospitality management firm Delaware North, which will serve as gaming operator for the casino, consulted with the tribe on branding.  

The Nez Perce Tribe has changed the name of a Clarkston, Wash. golf course it bought last year to honor a deceased tribal member. The tribe announced that its Clarkston Golf and Country Club would be renamed as Red Wolf Golf Club in honor of Josiah Red Wolf, who was 5 years old when he survived the Battle of the Big Hole, in Montana in 1877. The Nez Perce Tribe bought the club, which is located in the heart of its original territory, in Feb. 2019 for a reported $650,000.  

Executive Changes

Gun Lake Casino appointed Scott Szybilski as its new director of finance. Szybilski joins the casino, owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi, with 13 years of experience in the gaming industry and a history of leadership roles in finance. He began his gaming career in 2007 as a corporate controller at Hyatt Gaming Management in Chicago. Szybilski also served in upper management roles within the field of finance at three additional casinos, including his most recent role, as the senior vice president of finance at Del Lago Resort and Casino.

Legal People

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) announced three new additions to its staff. Patrice H. Kunesh (Standing Rock Lakota) joined the nonprofit as the major gifts officer on its development team. Samantha Kelty joined as a staff attorney based in the DC office, where she will focus on voting rights litigation and eliminating barriers to voting faced by Native Americans. Megan Condon recently accepted a position as a staff attorney in NARF’s Alaska office, where she’ll focus on protecting tribal natural, cultural, and subsistence resources.

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