Seneca Nation, Akin Gump Receive "Deal of the Year" Award

(Washington, D.C.) – The Seneca Nation, Merrill Lynch and law firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Dorsey & Whitney have received the Native American Finance Officers Association’s “Medium Deal of the Year” award for 2007. The award, which was presented during the NAFOA’s Spring Finance Conference on March 26 in San Diego, recognizes the Nation’s innovative $160 million bond issuance.

Kevin Seneca, treasurer and capital improvements authority chairman of the Seneca Nation, said, “The Seneca Nation is honored to receive NAFOA’s Deal of the Year award, and I am proud of the Seneca leadership for taking the bold step of borrowing public funds to accelerate construction for our capital projects.”

The funds will be used to add nearly 500,000 square feet of community and administrative building space and for much-needed upgrades and expansion to the Nation’s infrastructure.

As the time of its closing in April 2007, the transaction was one of the largest, if not the largest, tribal tax exempt financings. It involved the creation of a novel credit structure to accommodate the requirements (relating to recourse, security, covenants and distributions supporting payments on the bonds) of the Nation and its gaming subsidiary, Seneca Gaming Corporation, without adversely impacting the marketability of the bonds. The net proceeds of the bond offering will finance infrastructure projects to benefit the Nation and its members.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP partners Donald R. Pongrace, Kim E. Ramsey and Howard B. Jacobson and associate Allison P. Miller served as issuer and bond counsel. Merrill Lynch was the initial purchaser in the 144A/Reg S transaction.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, numbers more than 1,000 lawyers and advisors in the United States, Europe and Asia.

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