|By Rene Romo, Albuquerque Journal,
N.M.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jun. 17, 2009--LAS CRUCES -- The Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino near Ruidoso has defaulted on a $200 million bond issue, but operations at the Mescalero Apache enterprise in the Sacramento Mountains are continuing uninterrupted.
A brief statement issued late Monday by new chief operating officer Liz Foster-Anderson, the company's third COO in the last year, said that resort representatives "are in the process of negotiating with our lenders to restructure our debt."
Foster-Anderson declined to provide any other details.
A brief statement issued last week by the resort said it would "continue to operate as normal and will uphold its commitments to vendors and employees."
The Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino, the 4,000-member tribe's major employer and biggest source of revenue for the tribal government, failed to make a $12 million interest payment due May 15 on $200 million in bond debt, according a SEC filing. The entire bond debt would have come due in November 2010. The default status means the debt could be called due now.
After missing the May 15 interest payment deadline, the resort's management had a 30-day grace period to resolve the issue and avoid default but was unable to do so. The tribe took on the debt in 2003 to complete resort hotel and casino expansion, which now includes a 273-room luxury inn and 1,400 slot machines between two casinos off U.S. 70 on the Mescalero reservation.
Tribal President Carleton Naiche-Palmer and Vice President Jackie Blaylock did not return phone calls.
The inn is scheduled to host the 12th annual Southwestern Indian Gaming Conference and Expo from Monday to June 24.
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