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Michael Hoenig departs as NIGC General Counsel

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has announced the departure of longtime General Counsel Michael Hoenig.

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Effective January 27, Hoenig will depart the agency to serve as Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Gaming at the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Having joined NIGC in 2006, Hoenig took on several roles within the agency’s Office of General Counsel, including serving as the General Counsel for the last seven years.

In the role, he was key to helping tribes “facilitate defensible growth and protection of a vital industry for tribal governments' economies,” along with maintaining the public’s trust in the agency, the NIGC stated.

NIGC Chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer commented: “Mike’s solution-driven approach helped to institutionalise a number of new practices in the General Counsel’s office.

“These improvements maximised 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.

“I am both excited for Mike as he pursues a new and well-deserved opportunity in Indian country. I will miss him as a leader, important contributor to advancing the NIGC mission, and a respected voice in much of the agency’s innovations in recent years.”

The agency’s longest-serving General Counsel, Hoenig led NIGC through various recent issues, including the pandemic, the expansion of sports betting and the emergence of new cyber threats, among others.

Simermeyer has now appointed Rea Cisneros as the acting General Counsel, with Esther Dittler to serve as an agency acting Associate General Counsel, joining Sharon Avery.

“It is with mixed emotions that I depart NIGC,” said Hoeing. “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.”

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