Business Deals | Litigation

Chippewa Cree Tribe told to pay $25M to casino development firm




The Chippewa Cree Tribe owns and operates the Northern Winz Hotel andCasino in Box Elder, Montana. Photo: NorthernWinzHotelCasino

The Chippewa Cree Tribe is facing some hard times after being told to pay $25 million to a gaming company.

In a notice posted on Facebook, Chairman Harlan Baker said the tribe is cutting back on services as a result of the decision, which was entered in state court in Montana. Subsequent posts indicate child support payments and general assistance payments have already been suspended.

"We have fought, and will continue to fight, on behalf of our tribe in this case and will work to protect our financial resources," Baker said in the notice.

According to The Havre Daily News, which first reported on the story, BEH Gaming Ltd. of Florida won a court order in February in a breach of contract case. The firm had extended a loan to the tribe in connection with the expansion of the Northern Winz Hotel and Casino.

BEH filed the lawsuit in 2014, The Havre Daily News reported at the time. Then-chairman Ken St. Marks told the paper that the loan was apparently for $16 million and was supposed to be used to build a hotel and truck stop at the casino.

The tribe did add 10 hotel rooms to the facility and one gas pump, St. Marks told the paper, but he believes the loan was connected to corrupt activities among other tribal leaders on the reservation. About two dozen people were found guilty or pleaded guilty as part of a wide-ranging federal investigation.

Read More on the Story:
Rocky Boy asks for emergency hearing in lawsuit (The Havre Daily News 3/16)
Chippewa Cree-Lawsuit story (AP 3/16)