Chukchansi Economic Development Authority Reduces Casino Debt by Nearly 70 Percent. Significant debt restructuring serves as a model for other Native American Tribes, allowing for more economic development within the Tribal Community and across the region
Coarsegold, CA— The Chukchansi Economic Development Authority (CEDA), operator of the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino (CGRC), today announced the completion of a historic debt restructuring with its existing creditors and completion of a new Credit Agreement with Western Alliance Bank setting the course for increased economic independence for the Tribe.
The settlement as agreed to by a majority of stakeholders, significantly reduces CEDA’s debt from $350 million, including principal and accrued and unpaid interest, to approximately $110 million — a reduction of nearly 70%. This major reduction comes in part due to the successful reopening of the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino following its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CGRC took extraordinary efforts to reopen safely for its patrons and team members – employing cleaning crews, increased spacing, reinvested in its exciting and safe food and beverage offerings, and due to enthusiastic player participation, added more games.
“Since being elected to office in 2015, I’ve prioritized working with stakeholders to strategize and implement a comprehensive agreement that would significantly reduce CEDA’s debt,” said Claudia Gonzales, Chairwoman of the Chukchansi Economic Development Authority (CEDA). “Today, our Tribal Community has reached a major milestone in our efforts to secure financial independence. This debt restructuring complements our overall economic development initiatives and solidifies our place as a stable regional employer. I would like to thank all of those whose support, dedication and cooperation have enabled us to achieve this final step.”
As part of the final agreement, CEDA’s obligations in relation to its 9 ¾% senior notes due 2020 (the “Existing Notes”) have been satisfied through a new first lien senior loan provided by Western Alliance Bank and a pro rata exchange of all outstanding amounts of Existing Notes for new 8% senior secured notes due 2028 in an aggregate principal amount of over $80 million.
Additionally, pursuant to the settlement, all outstanding litigation has been settled and closed – bringing an end to a lawsuit initially filed against CEDA by the trustee regarding the Existing Notes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, CEDA was able to continue to negotiate and uphold its end of the debt restructuring agreement, while allowing employees of the CGRC to preserve their jobs, retain healthcare and other benefits during the pandemic.
The significant reduction in debt will ensure CEDA’s ability maintain the region’s highest quality resort casino experience while allowing the Chukchansi Tribe to expand its economic development initiatives in the region.
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About the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians:
The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians is a federally recognized Indian tribe based in Oakhurst, California. The Tribe owns and operates several businesses through Chukchansi Sovereign Enterprises, a federally chartered Section 17 economic development corporation, including the Chukchansi Crossing Fuel Station & Travel Center, Chukchansi Insurance, Inc., and Willow Glen Smoke Shop. The Tribe also owns and operates the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, in Coarsegold, California.
Chukchansi Economic Development Authority:
The Chukchansi Economic Development Authority (CEDA) is a wholly owned enterprise of the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians, a federally recognized Indian tribe based in Oakhurst, California. CEDA owns and operates the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold, California. Since opening in 2003, Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino has been voted No. 1 for 13 years as Best Casino by People’s Choice Awards, sees over 130,000 monthly guests and employs over 1,200 individuals—disbursing roughly $50 million in payroll and benefits into the local economy every year.