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Howard Stutz

Parisi named as chairman of Affinity Gaming

15 July 2013

Affinity Gaming, which went through a contentious proxy battle in May, announced Friday a representative of the company’s second largest shareholder would become the casino operator’s new chairman.

Richard Parisi, a senior investment professional with Connecticut-based hedge fund Silver Point Capital, was named board chairman, replacing Don Kornstein.

Parisi was elected to the board when the company increased the panel’s size from five to seven. Kornstein was re-elected and will remain a member of the board.

“I am very pleased to be given this opportunity to help contribute to the company’s success,” Parisi said in a statement.

Silver Point Capital owns 24.9 percent of the company.

Private equity firm Z Capital Partners of Illinois is Affinity’s largest shareholder, controlling 30.5 percent of the company.

Affinity has publicly traded debt.

Z Capital CEO James Zenni had proposed the company’s own slate of candidates to the Affinity board. Zenni made several offers earlier this year to acquire all the outstanding shares of Affinity.

Zenni had been critical of the company’s board and questioned a board-authorized $300,000 payment to Kornstein, who helped negotiate a three-way asset swap and sale between Affinity, Golden Gaming and JETT Gaming.

Silver Point was Affinity’s largest shareholder when the company was formed following the December 2010 bankruptcy reorganization of Herbst Gaming. Z Capital acquired its ownership stake over the past 18 months.

Affinity Gaming is headquartered in Las Vegas and operates 12 casinos in four states, including six in the Nevada. Affinity owns the three Primm resorts and the off-Strip Silver Sevens, as well as casinos in Iowa, Colorado and Missouri.

“Rich and I have gotten to know one another well over the past few months, and I am excited about working with him in our efforts to create additional value for all of our stockholders,” Affinity Chief Executive Officer David Ross said in a statement.

Ross was re-elected to the company’s board in May.