ARIZONA NEWS

Workers at closed Navajo Nation casinos to stop getting paychecks

Jul 27, 2020, 3:00 PM | Updated: 7:38 pm

Twin Arrows Casino Resort Navajo Nation Flagstaff...

(Facebook Photo/Twin Arrows Casino Resort)

(Facebook Photo/Twin Arrows Casino Resort)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Hundreds of people who had been on paid leave from their jobs with the Navajo Nation’s gambling enterprise won’t be paid after Monday.

Brian Parrish, who heads the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, said 900 employees began receiving letters and phone calls over the weekend about the layoffs.

Another 125 employees will be paid for another week, he said. A skeleton crew will remain on the payroll to handle human resources work, security, management and finances, Parrish among them.

The enterprise had been preparing to reopen its three casinos in northwestern New Mexico, and a resort casino and new travel center east of Flagstaff when the tribal president extended a closure of some executive offices. That order now expires in mid-August.

The ability to continue paying 1,180 employees had been a source of pride for the gambling enterprise.

The revenue from tribal casinos often is considered a stand-in for property tax that isn’t paid on reservations. It helps fund tribal governments and social services like health care.

Parrish said the Navajo enterprise exhausted its cash reserves and money it received from the federal Paycheck Protection Program to pay employees and no longer can afford it.

The enterprise has submitted proposals to Navajo leaders for a share of federal coronavirus relief money that went directly to tribal governments. The leaders are considering a wide range of proposals that add up to more than the amount available.

“We have enormous trust and faith in our leadership,” Parrish said. “They’ve got a lot of needs to balance.”

The Navajo Nation once had one of the highest per-capita rates of coronavirus infections in the U.S. The daily number of reported cases has declined overall, but nighttime curfews, weekend lockdowns and a mask mandate remain because of recent surges in COVID-19 off the reservation.

As of late Sunday, tribal health officials reported 4 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths. The total number of people infected on the reservation now stands at 8,891 with 439 known deaths.

Tribal health officials said 77,156 people have undergone testing and 6,547 have recovered from the virus.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness including pneumonia and death.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Split image of Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, left, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvi...

Kevin Stone

Maricopa County’s top prosecutor at odds with Manhattan DA over violent crime suspect

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is accusing metro Phoenix’s top prosecutor of “playing political games” with a high-profile violent crime suspect.

20 minutes ago

A look inside the South Concourse terminal expansion at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizo...

Kevin Stone

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport debuts new terminal in time for spring travel season

After 18 months of construction, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport’s terminal expansion project is complete in time for the spring travel season.

1 hour ago

John Holmberg Amazing Arizonans KTAR News 92.3 FM...

Mike Broomhead

Amazing Arizonans: Radio host John Holmberg dishes on voice work, stand-up comedy, more

Longtime Valley radio host John Holmberg is the latest guest on Mike Broomhead's Amazing Arizonans podcast, which celebrates greatness.

2 hours ago

Police are looking to identify suspects in an assault at a parking garage near Gilbert Road and Vau...

Jim Sharpe

I hope I’m never NOT shocked by youth violence in the East Valley or elsewhere

KTAR News host Jim Sharpe hopes that the shock of youth violence in the East Valley and elsewhere doesn't go away because it gets normalized.

3 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Can we prevent children from joining violent groups like Gilbert Goons?

On Jim Sharpe’s daily Sharper Point Commentary he shares his worry for his children and who they might hang out with in the years to come. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

4 hours ago

Dan + Shay performing on stage....

KTAR.com

Country singers Dan + Shay adds Phoenix stop in September on upcoming tour

Dan + Shay will perform at Phoenix's Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre on Sept. 5 for their "2024 The Heartbreak On The Map Tour."

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

FanDuel

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]

Workers at closed Navajo Nation casinos to stop getting paychecks