The Snoqualmie Tribe's casino project near North Bend can move forward as planned, after a settlement reached yesterday in a legal dispute...
The Snoqualmie Tribe’s casino project near North Bend can move forward as planned, after a settlement reached yesterday in a legal dispute between its Arizona investors.
The investors filed for bankruptcy in federal court last week, calling into question whether the tribe would have a management company to build and run the casino.
The battle involves a disagreement between Jim Miller and Jerry Moyes, former business partners dueling over ownership of the two companies investing in the casino, MGU and MGU Development.
The settlement yesterday confirms that Moyes, who has invested about $12 million in the project, is the owner of the MGU companies, said Matt Mattson, tribal administrator.
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“Jerry Moyes was always committed to the tribe and provided an uninterrupted stream of resources,” he said.
The complex feud between Moyes and Miller dates back several years.
In 2000, Moyes, who owned an interest in the Arizona Diamondbacks, discovered he could not invest in the casino because Major League Baseball prohibits ties with gambling, according to court documents.
Moyes turned the company over temporarily to Miller — whom he had entrusted as his personal financial adviser — on the condition that Moyes be able to reacquire it at any time, according to the documents.
While the company was in Miller’s hands, he filed for bankruptcy, a move that could have tacked on yet another delay to the stalled casino project.
Officials at MGU say they’re happy the ownership issue has been decided and that the companies’ attorneys plan to rescind the bankruptcy filing. Miller no longer works for the companies.
“I’m very pleased that the parties were able to reach a settlement that will allow the project to proceed unimpeded,” said Tom LeClaire, president. “We look forward to focusing our efforts on getting the project built and providing a needed economic engine for the Snoqualmie people.”
The tribe has been planning to build a 147,000-square-foot casino near North Bend for five years. It awaits approval from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to designate the 56-acre site as reservation land.
Moyes has loaned the tribe $3.5 million to buy the land and more than $8 million for design and environmental-review costs, Mattson said.
The $70 million casino would create 700 jobs.
Sonia Krishnan: 206-515-5546