Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snoqualmie Tribe Pays CEO $14 Million To Leave. Outside their Authority,

We have written about the Snoqualmie tribe's ineptitude before and other issues  HERE and HERE.   And their despicable actions to disenroll members HERE

Apologies to our friends at the Snow Valley Star for forgetting to link to their story, which has ALL the details.
The SNOW VALLEY STAR has the story on the Snoqualmie squabble: 

A fight in the Snoqualmie Tribal Council prompted an unexpected $14 million buyout of the Snoqualmie Casino’s CEO, but doesn’t threaten the casino’s viability in the short-term.

The decision caught many members off guard because it came only two months after the council had voted to maintain casino CEO Mike Barozzi’s contract. The experienced casino manager had been an integral part of the tribe’s pitch to investors when they put together the casino’s financing.

Losing Barozzi could affect the interest rate the tribe gets when it has to refinance the casino’s debt in a couple years.

The controversy is the latest episode in a long series of internal troubles for the insular, tight-lipped tribe.

The council didn’t offer any explanation for its Feb. 13 vote.

The decision to buyout Barozzi, which passed 4-3, was a compromise between council members who “wanted to run him off so the tribe could get more control, operationally (and specifically over hiring and firing decisions related to native employees) and some on the council that wanted to support Mr. Barozzi unequivocally,” Tribal Administrator Matt Mattson wrote in an e-mail to the Star.

However, Councilwoman Maryann Hinzman offered a different view.

“It was his decision to leave,” she said.   OP:  Then why pay him $14 MILLION?  I'd leave to if that was my goodbye present.

Some tribal members filed an emergency injunction in tribal court following the vote, claiming that the council couldn’t spend more than $2 million without approval from the general membership.

Mattson said he could not comment on ongoing litigation.

Barozzi had originally asked for $19.5 million, which the council decided was too much at a Dec. 19 meeting.

However, at least one councilman — Ray Mullen — was absent from the meeting and brought the matter up again at the February meeting.

This time around, Barozzi and the council settled on $14 million.

The motion was introduced in council by Hinzman and Mullen. Their council seats are up for election this year, and they have come under criticism in recent months from many in the general membership.

Both members declined to comment on the matter.
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