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Auditor Slams Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority

13 December 2002

SASKATCHEWAN – As reported by the (Saskatoon) Star Phoenix: "The provincial auditor slammed management of the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) Thursday, just days before city council decides whether to hold a plebiscite on a SIGA casino proposed for Saskatoon.

"In his fall report to the legislative assembly, Fred Wendel said SIGA has made slow progress improving business practices in the two years since the province ordered a cleanup. The order followed revelations of massive misspending by the authority's former chief executive officer and former board members.

"According to Wendel, SIGA does not yet have a business and financial plan and lacks processes to control its two biggest expenses -- salaries and marketing. In addition, SIGA `continues to make payments beyond its authority and without due care,'7 he said.

"Wendel also said the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) -- the regulator of gambling in Saskatchewan -- hasn't done enough to ensure it oversees SIGA's activities properly.

"…SIGA operates four casinos on behalf of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN). Along with the Saskatoon Tribal Council, the Saskatoon-based corporation has proposed a $65.5-million destination casino for downtown Saskatoon.

"…Wendel's critique of SIGA's management comes a day after Gaming Minister Ron Osika said SIGA, in co-operation with SLGA, has `absolutely' taken steps to prevent misspending. On Thursday, Osika continued to maintain SIGA has made significant progress in improving its operation.

"…However, Saskatchewan Party MLA Brenda Bakken demanded a moratorium on casino expansion until SIGA and SLGA straighten out their problems. She also called for Osika to step down as minister because he has deceived the public…"

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