Majestic Star Casino & Hotel

The Majestic Star Casino, LLC

Don H. Barden

Don H. Barden is owner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Barden Companies, Inc., The Majestic Star and Fitzgeralds Casinos and Hotels, Waycor Development Company, Barden Development Inc. (parent of Majestic Star), and Barden Companies, Inc. As chief strategist and company visionary, Mr. Barden is responsible for all key policymaking. His conglomerate operates in the casino, real estate development, and entertainment industries from his corporate headquarters in downtown Detroit.

Prior to establishing Barden Companies, Mr. Barden spent 20 years in Lorain, OH, where he served two terms as Lorain’s first elected black city councilman. He founded, published and edited the Lorain County Times weekly newspaper, spent eleven years as an on-air personality in Ohio, and successfully built, owned, and operated cable television stations in Inkster, Romulus, Van Buren, and Detroit, Mich., making Barden Cablevision one of the nation’s largest urban cable systems. He has since sold all of his cable television holding to Comcast.

Waycor Development Company, Mr. Barden’s real estate development unit, has successfully completed a number of diverse projects for Wayne County- Hamtramck, Mich.; Chene Park, a 144-unit multi-family residential rental development in Detroit; and Clairpointe of Victoria Woods, a luxury single family subdivision, also in Detroit.

Mr. Barden owned and operated five radio stations in Illinois. In 1998, Mr. Barden sold all of his broadcasting holdings. He was also majority owner (51%) of NovaNET Learning, Inc., a computer-based interactive educational software company. He sold his interest in the company in 1999.

He has been active in his hometown as well. In 1991 and 1992, Mr. Barden took the lead in efforts to revitalize Detroit by organizing a series of Regional Economic Peace Summits to address the problems of crime, national image, and economic development. The summits drew widespread support throughout the metropolitan Detroit region. Over 200 area leaders participated in the sessions, including chief judges, county executives, mayors, city council members, prosecutors, police officials, sheriffs, corrections personnel and business executives.

In February 1996, Mr. Barden established Barden International, Inc., in Namibia, Africa. The firm is engaged in the automotive processing, upfit, conversion and distribution business, and is one of the largest private investments in southern Africa. In 1998, Barden International was the General Motors Overseas Distribution Corporation’s “Dealer of the Year.” Mr. Barden continues to pursue other business opportunities on the African continent. Mr. Barden sold his interest in Barden International in 2005.

In addition to his involvement in public service, publishing, real estate development, international trade, and broadcasting, Mr. Barden has established himself as one of the top African American entrepreneurs in the country.

In December 1994, Barden Development, Inc. was awarded a Certificate of Suitability for a license to own and operate a riverboat casino in Gary, Ind. The Majestic Star Casino opened on June 11, 1996, and at the time was the only African American-owned casino in the United States. One year later Mr. Barden replaced his existing casino with a $50 million, 43,000-square-foot gambling vessel, making it among the five largest gaming vessels on U.S. waters.

He has since expanded his casino enterprise with the 2001 acquisition of three Fitzgeralds casinos, located in Black Hawk, CO, Tunica, MS, and downtown Las Vegas. He also purchased the Trump Casino in Gary, IN, in December of 2005. The vessel and hotel were re-christened the Majestic Star II.

Plans are currently underway for the development of a sixth property, which will be constructed on Pittsburgh’s booming North Shore riverfront. The $620 million, 400,000- square-foot facility is slated for completion in 2009.

Among many other awards and distinctions, Barden Companies Inc. was named Company of the Year in 2003 by Black Enterprise Magazine, and he received the Trumpet Award for Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004. In 2007 Barden Companies, Inc. was also listed by Ebony magazine as one of America’s top 150 Ebony Power businesses. He remains committed to the city of Detroit, where he works with civic and business groups including Detroit Renaissance, Inc., the Booker T. Washington Business Association, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Henry Ford Health Systems and Wayne State University Foundation.

With a business career spanning more than 40 years, Mr. Barden has guided Barden Companies Inc. and its affiliates to revenues of more than $519 million, making it one of the largest African American-owned businesses in the country.

Majestic Star Casino & HotelBarden

Don H. Barden
Manager, Chairman,
President and
Chief Executive Officer
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Michael L. Darley
Executive Vice President
Chief Operating Officer
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Jon S. Bennett
Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer
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