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21st April
written by Sean Noble

The Wigwam Resort, an Arizona institution for decades, may be on the verge of closing.  Today every employee of the Wigwam received a letter from the management company, Starwood, informing them that they are being terminated on May 29.  The owner of the property is Kabuto, and word on the street Citibank is moving to foreclose.  Apparently, Starwood has not been paid by Kabuto for some time.  Hard to run a resort when you aren’t getting paid, and very, very hard to run a resort with no employees.  Sounds like it will get shuttered unless something dramatic happens.

You may recall the upheaval caused by a plan by Kabuto back in the mid-90’s to develop some of the fairways at the Biltmore to build more homes.  You had local luminaries like Paul Harvey, Jack Londen, Mel Schultz and others jump into that issue in a big way.

It’d be a shame to lose the Wigwam.  My guess is that someone will come in to save it.  At least I hope so.

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  1. Kim Owens

    The current staff is employed by Starwood; Starwood is terminating the relationship with Kabuto, hence the termination of employees. There is a foreclosure notice and sale scheduled for July 9th but that is with Citigroup and not due to the Starwood arrangement.

    This is a terrible blow to the west valley and Litchfield Park. I’m with you in hoping a safety net shows up!

  2. Woody

    I predict this is the beginning of the end of Indian Gaming and the AZ Lottery. When two or three of the State’s top resorts close or come close to it, the industry will come up with millions to push for legalizing gambling. We’ll hear all the catastrophe stories about what will happen if the resorts close and companion stories about the dollars that will flow into state coffers from “highly regulated” state approved gaming. If they can’t scare or bribe enough legislators into it, they’ll get it on the ballot. It will sound like the silver bullet to all the state’s economic woes and we’ll wake up Steve Wynn’s Wigwam and Bally’s Biltmore. The tribes won’t be able to compete when the big gambling money works against them, and the Lottery will dry up and blow away.

  3. 26/04/2009

    I find it hard to believe that all concerned parties will let this beautiful oasis in the desert “close it’s doors.” It is not only very important to the state, but also to Arizona, Litchfield Park, the west side of Phoenix and all the employees who labor year after year to make it such a very wonderful place to be. Will someone with the know-how and the money,save our beloved Wigwam!

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