As printed in Clarion Ledger
Feb. 29, 2012
PHILADELPHIA — The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has signed a debt refinancing agreement for the Pearl River Resort in Neshoba County and the Bok Homa Casino in Jones County.
The new loan is for $78 million at a 6 percent variable rate for five years. The agreement was signed Tuesday by Chief Phyliss J. Anderson and officials with Trustmark National Bank in Jackson.
Anderson says the deal gives the tribe financial stability.
Last summer, Moody's Investors Service downgraded $200 million in securities borrowed by the Choctaw Resort Development Enterprise. In late 2011, the tribal enterprise was removed from the credit watch list after it received a six-month extension on loans owed.
Pearl River Resort encompasses the Silver Star Hotel and Casino, the Golden Moon Entertainment Arena and Hotel, Bok Homa Casino, Dancing Rabbit Golf Course and Geyser Falls Water Theme Park.
Its latest promote is "Pearl River Resort, it's like Vegas with sweet tea."
The Choctaw Resort Development Enterprise's previous term loan had a maturity date of May 4, 2012, for the Pearl River Resort and a maturity date of May 31, 2012, for the Bok Homa Casino.
"I am very happy we were able to get this deal done early," Anderson said. "I appreciate the hard work of our CRDE board members, Choctaw Tribal Council, our finance, legal and accounting teams as well as our partners Trustmark National Bank. We are very satisfied with the terms of this deal. I didn't know if we would be able to get this done in the first 100 days of office but I pushed hard for the benefit of our tribal people."
"This was not a standard transaction," said Trustmark National Bank first vice president Craig Sosebee. "We've gone through the recession. People were thinking that maybe gaming was kind of recession-proof. That's not really turned out to be the case. So, the market has changed from where the financing use to be, but we still had a number of banks willing to participate and we put a good group together."