WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) Chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer has rescinded $3.4 million of the remaining $3.5 million suspended civil fine assessed against the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin for timely satisfaction of all but one term of the agreed upon remedial provisions enumerated in Settlement Agreement SA19-02.
Under the terms of the agreement, the tribe was fined $4.5 million, with $1 million payable in installments and up to $3.5 million rescindable pending substantial compliance with its conditions. The NIGC recognized that the tribe had a lot of work to do over the course of the agreement and attached a portion of the $3.5 million fine to particular conditions. This is the first time NIGC has used this approach to settle violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Structuring the settlement this way allowed the tribe to track its progress (in terms of fines rescinded) with every action and gave some assurance that a minor setback would not jeopardize the entire $3.5 million.
This complex and years-long resolution was achieved through hard work and diligence from the tribe and NIGC staff to ensure the tribe implemented remedial measures to prevent future violations. The new settlement approach demonstrates an alternate path to enforcing IGRA compliance that benefits tribal citizens. Further, the tribe has fulfilled its obligation to protect gaming assets and revenue through implementing new policies and procedures, conducting annual use of revenue audits, and ensuring that tribal programs and expenses are paid directly by the tribe. The tribe has also provided NIGC with verification of internal controls to mitigate the risk of a recurrent violation.
Due to the tribe’s cooperation and compliance over the past three years, NIGC will rescind all but $100,000 of the suspended civil fine.