Sequoyah Simermeyer, the Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), announced the departure of longtime NIGC General Counsel Michael Hoenig, effective January 27. Hoenig, who joined the agency in 2006, served in various roles within the NIGC’s Office of General Counsel for 16 years and was the General Counsel for the last seven years.
Leadership and Contribution:
During his tenure, Hoenig played an instrumental role in helping the NIGC navigate the rapidly changing landscape of Indian gaming. From managing the expansion of sports betting to navigating compliance with multiple audits, Hoenig’s solution-driven approach helped institutionalize new practices in the General Counsel’s office. As a result, the NIGC’s legal team has grown to become one of the best in the agency’s history.
Simermeyer praised Hoenig’s leadership and contributions to the NIGC’s mission, stating, “Mike’s solution-driven approach helped to institutionalize a number of new practices in the General Counsel’s office. These improvements maximized the skills of legal staff and attorneys and have been important in attracting and building one of the best legal teams the Agency has ever had.”
Hoenig will be leaving the NIGC to work as Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Gaming at the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Reflecting on his tenure, Hoenig expressed appreciation for the hard work and dedication of his colleagues, fellow attorneys, and NIGC staff. He stated, “It is with mixed emotions that I depart NIGC. I am sincerely grateful to have been privileged enough to get to serve with the amazing staff to advance the mission and purposes of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act – to protect Tribal gaming as one of the most important economic resources in Indian country. I look forward to continuing that mission from a slightly different perspective in this new role with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.”
Simermeyer has appointed Rea Cisneros (Anishinaabe – Lac Courte Oreilles) as the acting General Counsel. Esther Dittler (Six Nations – Mohawk) will serve as an Agency acting Associate General Counsel, joining Sharon Avery (Anishinaabe – Saginaw Chippewa).
In conclusion, Michael Hoenig’s departure from the National Indian Gaming Commission marks the end of a 16-year tenure during which he played a vital role in the agency’s efforts to protect and grow Indian gaming. His contributions will be greatly missed, and we wish him the best in his new role at the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
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