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Station Casinos files bankruptcy

  • 10/18/2005: A1: [aerial view of Rohnert Park Station Casino land]

    9/15/2005: A6: Looking southwest, the site of the proposed Rohnert Park casino.

    PC: Looking southwest the newly proposed Rohnert Park casino site is marked by the plowed field at top with Home Depot to the right Wednesday September 14, 2005.

The Las Vegas gaming company bankrolling plans to build a casino resort on the western edge of Rohnert Park filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday after it failed to reach an agreement with its creditors about restructuring debt.

The bankruptcy filing by Station Casinos Inc. casts more doubt about its plan to build a casino in Sonoma County in partnership with the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. The project is already embroiled in a federal lawsuit and staunchly opposed by some community members.

?I?m deeply satisfied that this bankruptcy will slow it down,? said Chip Worthington, founder of Stop the Casino 101. ?It?s a significant victory for the opponents of the casino, but we are not letting our guard down. We are not stopping our opposition.?

A casino spokeswoman said the bankruptcy had no effect on its plans for the Rohnert Park gaming resort, which would house 2,000 slot machines, a 300-room hotel, convention center and theater.

?There will be no impact to our tribal gaming partnerships,? said Lori Nelson, director of corporate communications for Station Casinos. ?We move forward with the business plan.?

Station Casinos purchased 273 acres of land in Rohnert Park in 2005 in anticipation of converting the area into a reservation for the Graton tribe, which could then potentially open a casino on the site.

Progress has been slowed by opponents of the casino, who sued the federal government to prevent the land from becoming a reservation. The case is still in court.

Station Casinos announced in February it was working with bondholders to reorganize debt in an attempt to stave off bankruptcy. Those negotiations failed and it voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday.

Station Casinos has spent more than $140 million trying to develop the Rohnert Park land into a casino, according to its quarterly earnings report. It spent $100 million buying the land, and has given millions of dollars directly to the tribe.

Opponents of the casino believe the tribe will have to cut back its spending if Station Casinos is having financial difficulty and unable to continue making payments.


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