Affinity Gaming board member at center of proxy fight resigns

An Affinity Gaming board member, who was at the center of a proxy fight with the casino operator’s largest shareholder a year ago, resigned from the company last week.

The move left Las Vegas-based Affinity, which operates a dozen casinos in 12 states including the three Primm resorts and the off-Strip Silver Sevens, with six board members.

Don Kornstein resigned Jan. 3, Affinity said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday.

“Mr. Kornstein submitted his resignation to pursue other opportunities; his resignation was not in connection with any disagreement with Affinity, any of our executive officers, or on any matter relating to our operations, policies or practices,” Affinity said in the filing.

Kornstein was named chairman of Affinity after the company was founded in December 2010 following the bankruptcy reorganization of Herbst Gaming.

In July, Richard Parisi, a senior investment professional with Connecticut-based hedge fund Silver Point Capital, was named board chairman, replacing Kornstein.

Parisi was elected to the board when the company increased the panel’s size from five to seven. Kornstein was re-elected as a member of the board.

Silver Point Capital, which had been Affinity’s largest shareholder following the bankruptcy reorganization, owns 24.9 percent of the company.

Private equity firm Z Capital Partners of Illinois is Affinity’s largest shareholder, controlling 30.5 percent of the company.

In late 2012, Z Capital CEO Jim Zenni questioned “the governance practices” of the company’s board of directors. He complained about Affinity’s board authorizing a $300,000 payment to Kornstein, who helped negotiate a three-way asset swap with Golden Gaming and JETT Gaming in 2011. Affinity did not use an outside adviser in the deal.

Last year, Zenni proposed Z Capital’s own slate of candidates to the Affinity board. Zenni made several offers in 2013 to acquire all the outstanding shares of Affinity.

In Nevada, Affinity owns six casinos. The company also owns casinos in Iowa, Colorado and Missouri.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.