Lac Vieux Desert Band Reaches Historic Milestone With Payment in Full of Long-Held Casino Debt

Northern Waters Casino Resort in Watersmeet, Michigan

Payment of Debt Ahead of Schedule Attributed to Tribal Lending Revenues, Investments into Economic Enterprises-

WATERSMEET, Mich. – The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Indians (LVD) announced today that it has paid in full the $30 million loan originally taken out in 1995 to finance the construction of Lac Vieux Desert Northern Waters Casino Resort marking a historic milestone in the Tribe’s history. The debt was not scheduled to mature until November 2021, making the final payment nearly two years ahead of schedule. 

“Being debt free has always been the plan of Tribal leadership and the entire LVD community, so this is an important and historic day for all of us,” said James Williams, Jr., Tribal Chairman of the Lac Vieux Desert. “Paying off this major debt is not only a big step forward for our self-sufficiency, but it also gives us more flexibility in financial decision-making, with principal and interest savings that allow for long-term financial planning and improved services to Tribal members.” 

“Paying off this casino debt would not have been possible without our other economic development enterprises, specifically the revenues generated by our Tribal lending businesses and the investments that we have made into them,” Williams continued. “We can now continue to decrease Tribal debt, build a rainy-day fund, develop and implement a general welfare program, and focus on community infrastructure development.” 

During the more than two decades that the Tribe owed principal on the debt, it refinanced several times, but due to economic conditions and the desire for capital improvements, paying off the debt became difficult, if not impossible. In 2014, LVD refinanced with Devon Bank, developing a relationship that allowed the Tribe to maximize their busy times while also having flexibility to work through slow periods. That loan was refinanced in 2018 and not scheduled to mature until 2021. 

RELATED: Fourth Circuit Rules in Favor of Lac Vieux Desert, Determining That Lending Business Is an Arm of the Tribe Entitled to Sovereign Immunity 

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