A Note from Chairman John L. Berrey
I hope and pray everyone is healthy and enjoying this summer season. I look forward to seeing everyone at the 146th Quapaw Pow Wow and 2018 General Council. The Quapaw Tribe is in such a wonderful place financially, and we have so many great things that we are building that will secure our stable financial future.
The Quapaw Businesses are set up with Authorities that are very important in protecting the Quapaw Tribe’s assets from attack and protect our sovereignty. I want to take a moment to explain the need and benefits of our Authority that manages our $500 Million investment—Downstream Casino Resort.
The Downstream Development Authority (DDA) is a wholly-owned unincorporated governmental instrumentality of the Tribe and was created to own and operate the Downstream Casino Resort. It was created for the following reasons:
1. To create a buffer between the business operations at the casino and the politics that are inherent in Tribal government.
2. To provide an additional structural protection—over and above just a contractual protection—for the Tribe and its assets as it relates to casino contracts, financings, and other obligations and potential liabilities.
3. To provide additional separation and protection for the Tribe on limited waivers of sovereign immunity that may be necessary to conduct business in the ordinary course.
4. To create a more efficient way to conduct business in a non- or less political manner, so that business can be conducted as a business, with goals of profitability and other stated business objectives at the forefront, without as much consideration given to the whims of the political process or individual campaigns.
5. To enhance access to capital and provide assurance to outside parties—e.g., employees, vendors, customers, lenders, and investors—that the casino business is being run at arm's length and subject to standard business norms. This access to capital results in lower borrowing costs and simplifies and streamlines the diligence process for present and future business partners of the Quapaw Tribe.
6. To protect the privacy of tribal elected officials and processes. This also allows for tribal affairs and issues to remain more private—with elections, campaigns, controversies and other issues inherent with any governmental body to remain a tribal matter and not subject to view and diligence by outside entities.
7. To provide a simple and straightforward vehicle, familiar to investors, to obtain financing and offer collateral on financings or other contracts, without implicating the Tribe. This is something negotiated for and covenanted in loan documents as an additional assurance to lenders, and would require a modification of loan agreements to modify.
8. To buffer the Quapaw Tribe from legal liability created by any civil or criminal issues created by employees and officers of Downstream Casino Resort and the other Tribal Enterprises.
9. The DDA does not conduct the business of the Quapaw Tribe’s Business Committee as incorporated in the Quapaw Tribe Governing Resolution. Four members of the DDA are from the Business Committee. One of these members is seated because of his or her leadership at the Quapaw Casino facilitating coordination between both entities. There is also one at-large member of the DDA. Any member who serves on the DDA must be able to qualify for a gaming license—which includes personal financial disclosures and background checks—and, also, they are subjected to review and scrutiny by outside investors.
10. Compensation for DDA members is subject to regular review by outside financial partners and investors of Downstream Casino Resort. All compensation, spending, and management are audited internally daily, weekly, monthly and annually. In addition, a nationally recognized outside accounting and auditing firm conduct an in-depth audit on all aspects of the business, including compensation for DDA members and employees. Compensation for the DDA and senior management is materially below standard for these positions. The DDA also hosts an in-depth financial report and review via conference call for all outside investors every three months; the DDA must always be prepared through-out the year to respond to questions regarding the financial performance of the property and expense items, including compensation.
11. The original DDA was made up of Lloyd Buffalo, JR Mathews, Marilyn Rogers (Quapaw Casino Representative), Ranny McWatters, Larry Ramsey (at-large member), and John Berrey. Today, the DDA is made up of Tamara Reeves, Ranny McWatters, Marilyn Rogers (Quapaw Casino Representative), Larry Ramsey (at-large member), and John Berrey. The stability of our tribal government and casino management has been a huge factor for outside partners and investors when considering where to make investments and with whom to partner in the business.
We have several grants that are in the works; there are two I’m especially excited about--a language program that will result in a language immersion school and a splash pad in Quapaw. The grants, programs, and businesses we seek are for the betterment of all of our people. I love our tribe and our people. I hope to see y’all very soon. I pray that you and your families are safe and protected by our Creator, and He continues to bless our Quapaw people.