Who is MPM Enterprises
When the Gun Lake Casino opens in 2008 or 2009, its day-to-day operations will be managed by MPM Enterprises. This entity, controlled jointly by the tribe, Las Vegas-based Station Casinos and a group of Mt. Pleasant investors, will run the casino for the first seven years of operation, at which time the tribe is required by federal law to remove all private management from the casino.
The private group will receive 30 percent of net winnings for the duration of its seven-year contract, the standard management fee for tribal casino partners.
“We were introduced to the tribe when they were first putting together a casino deal,” said W. Sidney Smith, a principal of MPM Enterprises. “They were having trouble with their current group and were looking for a management company to help them find sites and other things.”
Prior to receiving federal recognition, the tribe worked with Sungold Entertainment and later Kean-Argovitz Resorts on preliminary casino plans. After tribe membership officially voted to pursue gaming in 1999, shortly after the recognition was granted, the tribe dismissed Kean-Argovitz and approached Smith as a potential partner.
Smith had a basic understanding of tribal gaming through his involvement with the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort as the former mayor of Mt. Pleasant and former board chairman of Central Michigan University. More importantly, his real estate company, Smith Equities, developed and managed companies throughout the state, and already had several residential and retail holdings in the West Michigan area.
Bart Labelle also had experience in the West Michigan area. Labelle Management was in the process of opening two new Bennigan’s stores in Grand Rapids.
As CEO of Fabiano Brothers, central Michigan’s leading wholesale beer and wine distributor, Jim Fabiano brought additional hospitality knowledge to the table.
The three investors bankrolled the tribe’s early efforts in the casino development. In 2003, a majority stake in MPM Enterprises was sold to Las Vegas-based Station Casinos. Today, the group is overseen by a five-person board consisting of Smith, Station Casinos and three representatives from the tribe.