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Minn. tribal leader Crooks dies at 70

Aug. 26, 2012 at 8:32 PM

SHAKOPEE, Minn., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Stanley Crooks, chairman of the wealthy Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Minnesota, has died of natural causes, the tribe said. He was 70.

A release by the tribe said Crooks died Saturday at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee while surrounded by family and friends, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Crooks, who led the 480-member Indian band for 20 years, was "a leader in every sense of the word," said tribal Vice Chairman Charlie Vig, who will assume the chairmanship. "He was a true mentor and a true leader. We join with his family, friends and all those who were privileged to know Chairman Crooks in mourning his passing."

Crooks oversaw the boom years that followed the tribe's opening of Mystic Lake Casino near Minneapolis the same year he took office.

The tribe employs more than 4,100 people in its gaming and non-gaming ventures with an annual payroll exceeding $154 million, the newspaper said.

As its members became wealthy, the Shakopee tribe has shared in its good fortunes, giving more than $243 million to other tribes and charitable organizations since 1996, the Pioneer Press said. It also has provided loans of more than $450 million for economic development.

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