Shodakai Casino hires new general manager

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REDWOOD VALLEY, Calif. - The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, owners and operators of Shodakai Casino, announced March 17 they hired Larry Johnson as the casino;s general manager.

''Larry brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge of the gaming industry,'' said Coyote Valley Tribal Chairman John Feliz Jr. ''We are excited to have Larry at the helm as we embark on our casino expansion.''

Johnson came to Shodakai Casino from Tropicana Resorts in Las Vegas, where he was general manager for the Tropicana Resort. Johnson worked on several Tropicana properties, including as general manager for River Palms Casino Resort in Laughlin, Nev., where his complete redesign and repositioning of the resort resulted in a 22 percent revenue increase. During his tenure with River Palms, the resort was voted ''Best Overall Casino'' for the Laughlin market by Strictly Slots magazine.

During his time in Laughlin, Johnson was the project general manager for the Westin Casuarina Dawn Beach Resort in St. Maarten, Bahamas, where he coordinated shipping, purchasing, licensing, government labor contracts, system design and marketing for the resort, as well as the installation of all casino equipment and employee training.

Johnson also served as property general manager for Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall, where he oversaw the planning of a $100 million expansion that included a casino with five restaurants, a lounge and nightclub, spa, convention space and a 2,500-seat arena, as well as two retail stores.

Coyote Valley is a 380-member tribe that regained its federal recognition by the federal government in 1976. The tribe signed a tribal-state compact in August 2004 that was ratified by the state Legislature and approved by the Secretary of the Interior in December 2004. The tribe operates the Shodakai Casino in accordance with the terms of the August 2004 compact.

The tribe signed a memorandum of understanding with Mendocino County in 2007, agreeing to pay in excess of $16 million over the life of the agreement to mitigate any impacts of its casino expansion and providing for law enforcement, fire protection, emergency services, traffic and air quality.

The tribe formed the Coyote Valley Community Outreach Program, which has given in excess of $400,000 over the past 10 years to charitable organizations, including the Redwood Valley Fire Department, the American Cancer Society of Mendocino County, American Red Cross - Ukiah, the Boys and Girls Club of Ukiah and the California Highway Adoption Program.