Tribal Council will decide future course for Kah-Nee-Ta

Tribal Council has taken no action on the future operation of Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Spa, and the potential operator continues to seek funding that would allow the resort to stay open.

The Kah-Nee-Ta board will make a presentation soon to Tribal Council, presenting various options. Reports that Kah-Nee-Ta will close on September 5 were based on a public notification requirement, and the reports were perhaps premature.

Regarding the notification: The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act applies to companies that employ 100 or more employees, such as Kah-Nee-Ta.   The WARN act says the company must give notification if 50 or more employees are going to be laid off for more than 30 days.  The notification must be given 60 days before the expected layoffs.

Kah-Nee-Ta gave this notice early in July with September 5 as the potential lay-off date. This was done in the worst-case scenario of Kah-Nee-Ta actually closing.  However, Tribal Council has made no decision; so the matter is pending, said Jim Manion, Kah-Nee-Ta board chairman.

In the worst-case scenario, there are options: A partial closure, a temporary closure, or a permanent closure, Mr. Manion said. And there remains the hope that the potential operator will secure the necessary funding.

The potential investor-operator, Accent Ventures, wants to invest up to $16 million in Kah-Nee-Ta, under a long-term lease of the property with the Confederated Tribes. Securing the funding has taken longer than expected, but could still happen.

The option that the Kah-Nee-Ta board would not recommend to Tribal Council would be continued operation of Kah-Nee-Ta without at least a break-even bottom line.  “Kah-Nee-Ta has been a financial drain on the tribes for years,” Mr. Manion said. “We have to come up with a model that is selfsustaining.”

Weighing the potential closure options is happening at the same time that Tom Hansen, chief executive officer of Accent Ventures, is actively seeking the funding that would resolve the matter.

Kah-Nee-Ta opened in the 1960s. The tribes built the Lodge in the early 1970s.  This summer there are about 170 employees working at the resort.