Jonodev Chaudhuri lands new job after stint at National Indian Gaming Commission

Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri has a new job lined up now that he's leaving the National Indian Gaming Commission after more than five years of service.

Chaudhuri, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, will be leading the Indian law and policy group at Quarles & Brady LLP, a national firm. He will be starting on May 20, just five days after stepping down as chair of the NIGC, where he oversaw the growth of the $32.4 billion tribal casino industry.

“While I will dearly miss my incredible team at the NIGC and the important work we performed on behalf of Indian country, I’m thrilled to be joining another incredible team at Quarles & Brady, a firm whose philosophy, resources, and talented attorneys make it perfectly poised to profoundly impact the landscape of Indian country in the years ahead,” Chaudhuri said in a news release on Tuesday.

“I look forward to utilizing some of the same strategic planning and problem-solving skills that were central to our work at the NIGC to work with my new teammates to develop targeted solutions to complex problems which, in turn, will help achieve new opportunities for Indian country,” he said.

Chaudhuri's new colleagues at Quarles & Brady include Samantha Skenandore, a citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation. She welcomed the arrival of the outgoing NIGC chairman.

“We’re excited for Jonodev to lead our team, as working with a practitioner with his immense talent and proven track record will further enhance our clients' interests as they advance their tribal sovereignty,” said Skenandore, who serves of counsel at the firm in Wisconsin and in Arizona.

Chaudhuri joined the NIGC in September 2013, first as its vice chair. He was later nominated to serve as chairman by former president Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2015.

“Chairman Chaudhuri’s leadership at the NIGC was marked by a steadfast commitment to supporting tribal self-determination, tribal economic development, and self-sufficiency,” said Thomas Springer, an attorney at Quarles & Brady who focuses on Indian law in the firm's Wisconsin office. “No doubt the resounding success of the industry in recent years is due, in large part, to his sound application of law to policy and governance."

With Chaudhuri heading out the door, NIGC Vice Chair Kathryn Isom-Clause will take over operations on May 16. She is a citizen of the Pueblo of Taos and has worked at the agency since March 2016.

“I’d like to thank Chairman Chaudhuri for his service to Indian Country and NIGC," Isom-Clause said in a statement released by the agency. "Until a new Chair is named I’m happy to take over day-to-day functions as Vice Chair.”

E. Sequoyah Simermeyer also serves on the NIGC as a commissioner. He is a citizen of the Coharie Tribe and has Navajo ancestry.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act established the NIGC as a three-member commission. The chairman is to be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate to serve a term of three years.

The other two members are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior. They are also to serve terms of three years.

Of the three members, at least two must be "enrolled members of any Indian tribe," according to IGRA. Additionally, no more than two members can come from the same political party, the law states.

President Donald Trump has not yet announced a nominee for chairman of the NIGC.

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