No deal to fire casino managersSep 12, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer
The Northern Arapaho General Council voted Saturday by secret ballot to fire Wind River Hotel and Casino chief executive officer Jim Conrad, as well as assistant manager Andrea Clifford, within 30 days.
However, the Northern Arapaho Business Council has sole authority to make the final decision on that directive, and on Tuesday morning, the NABC's vote was split 3-3, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting.
The outcome of that vote means that both Conrad and Clifford will stay in place unless votes swing on the council.
The general council's vote to remove Conrad, who has helmed the casino since 2005, came despite praise for Conrad from CIT Bank, which holds a loan for the casino.
The bank refinanced the casino's debt in 2009, and the loan matures in October 2019. That date was extended three times due to what CIT vice president Michael Parisien described as Conrad's "solid business acumen and can-do attitude to sure compliance."
"Compliance is critical to any lending relationship," Parisien said in a Sept. 7 letter to the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
Parisien also mentioned the tribe's financing of a new 90-room hotel wing using internally generated cash flow, as opposed to debt from CIT. He said the tribe's "ability to independently fund a project with (its) own money was an accomplishment that few gaming operators are able to achieve."
"Your tribe did that under the stewardship and solid leadership of Mr. Jim Conrad," he wrote, calling Conrad a "well-versed and highly respected" member of the gaming, hotel and restaurant industry.
"He is highly qualified to lead the management team as the tribe endeavors to grow its business and expand gaming/non-gaming offerings," Parisien said.