Development dealings to determine Seneca presidency

The presidency of the Seneca Nation of Indians is typically decided at a caucus of candidates within the Seneca Party, a dominant political force within the Nation that controls the Tribal Council and the gaming corporation’s Board of Directors. The six term former President Barry Snyder, who currently serves as Chairman of the gaming corporation, largely controls the party.

Snyder has been widely criticized for failing to recruit a dynamic CEO at the corporation, which has suffered a succession of lackluster executives. While many Senecas yearn for a brilliant and visionary business person to take the helm, Snyder has intentionally left the post vacant for the last 14 months. Instead, the corporation’s Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and General Counsel each report directly to the Board. That situation has alarmed observers.

As the current President Moe John contemplates post-office opportunities, Seneca power brokers are debating prospective investment deals with non-Native partners, many designed to monetize regulatory arbitrage opportunities. Seneca votes are often bought with funds associated with these deal makers.

Contenders for the presidency include Treasurer Todd Gates, Councillor Llona Leroy, businessman and Democratic Party contributor Aaron Pierce, tobacco dealer Ross John, and the former Councillor Sue Abrams (who is rumored to have a flashy development deal quietly in the works).

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