Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Michigan’s U.P. Acquires Lending Company

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The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, which operates the Lac Vieux Desert Resort and Casino in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, today announced it has purchased Puerto Rico-based Bellicose Capital, a service provider to the tribe’s lending business.

“This purchase has positioned us to strengthen our tribe, enhance our reservation, preserve our culture, operate our government, and provide educational, medical, and social services to our most vulnerable members and the children of our community,” says James Williams Jr., chairman of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

Williams says under the terms of the agreement, the tribe will pay an undisclosed seven-figure sum up front and annual payments for a period of seven years. With this acquisition, he says Lac Vieux Desert Band has become one of the first tribes to own a lending company along with a support services business, which includes vendor identification; oversight and auditing services; employee training; and risk assessment development, among other services.

Williams says Bellicose has been merged into Ascension Technologies LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the tribe.

“Lac Vieux Desert Band's purchase of Bellicose is the natural evolution of the tribe's almost five-year-old lending business … (and) the combination of these businesses is primed to do a great many things in the years ahead, directly and by way of investment on the reservation,” says Matt Martorello, former owner and president of Bellicose Capital. 

Williams says in recent years, the Lac Vieux Desert Band tribe has focused on economic diversification to replace income lost from a lack of tourism and a downturn in the economy.

The tribe operates Lac Vieux Desert Resort and Casino in Watersmeet, near the Wisconsin border, which has a 132-room motel, an 18-hole golf course, a restaurant, and a casino. The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians also invested in Machal LLC in 2007, a Louisiana-based casino management company, helping the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians to open the Choctaw Pines Casino in Louisiana.  

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