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Santa Ysabel Casino Closes Its Doors

The casino, which filed for bankruptcy reorganization in 2012 but was denied, is saddled with debts of more than $50 million.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

The Santa Ysabel Casino went out of business Monday after a nearly seven-year struggle against a recession and its isolated location.

Santa Ysabel Tribal officials also accused San Diego County of being "intransigent" for refusing to renegotiate a financial agreement that paid for off-site improvements and additional sheriff's deputies.

The casino, which filed for bankruptcy reorganization in 2012 but was denied, is saddled with debts of more than $50 million, UT San Diego reported.

"We have always strived to meet all of our obligations and to serve as a responsible corporate partner in our community, as well as a valuable public resource to our members and the surrounding area," Tribal Chairman Virgil Perez said in a statement.

The casino opened in April 2007 near the junction of state Routes 76 and 79—close to Lake Henshaw—with 349 slot machines about the time the October wildfires that year and  just before the national recession. The enterprise was also hurt by its isolated location while larger, easier-to-reach casinos flourished.

The closure left around 115 employees without jobs. The casino also was a funding source for the reservation's fire department.

Perez said he remained committed to exploring other business ventures, including gaming on a limited scale, to provide employment opportunities to the casino's workers.

—City News Service

Joe Minervini February 04, 2014 at 12:04 PM
I'm sad to hear this news. I felt as if this casino was my own private place....all the staff was very friendly and the prices were reasonable. I never thought a bankruptcy could be denied. If they cannot pay their debts, does one start going into servitude ?
Andrew Dean Buckley February 09, 2014 at 04:25 PM
Our California politicians are totally UNFAIR to all Calif. Indian Casinos. All federally recognized tribes in Calif. have their own sovereignty which means they govern themselves. Therefore it is illegal for Federa,State and Counties to force them into paying any taxes from money made on their soverein land period. Like our governer Arnold Switchinager told them at the time like a raging bull "You pay your fair share!" Its not a fair share at all and its called ripping off Indian soverein nation so in return Dianne Jacobs our San Diego county supervisor can deny the Indians temporary tax renegotiating during economic hard times and our State denying them chapter 11 bankruptcy which every Amercan tax paying citizen has a legal right to on their own juristiction. So why are our native people being treated this way? Pure GREED and corruption will never stop but I will be writing more letters soon to all our governments about this. I happen to know that Calif's native people are a giving people and want to please. They are a humble Nation that would of given back to our State and communities on their own instead of threatened to do so. Sincerely, Heart Broken 💔

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