New tribal leaders as corrupt as the OLD tribal leaders?
Seven years after federal law authorities swooped onto the Coyote Valley Reservation in Redwood Valley, seizing computers and documents to support allegations of wrongdoing by the tribal council, the tribe remains in upheaval.
Current tribal leaders, who helped oust the scandal-tainted former council, are now themselves the targets of a coup.
Two weeks ago, the Central California Bureau of Indian Affairs upheld a vote by the tribe's general membership to remove six of the seven council members and the tribal chief.
"They're doing the exact same thing (as the former council). Just not as blatant," said tribal member Correy Alcantra, who is leading the uprising and has been tentatively appointed to the council.
Change is not expected anytime soon. The incumbent council is expected to appeal the BIA decision, starting a process that could take years, Alcantra said.
The tribe's council chairman and its attorney did not return phone calls. Chief Richard Campbell said he doesn't believe the vote to remove him from office is legitimate.
"The way I see it personally, it's all going to die on the vine," he said. Campbell declined to comment further.
Alcantra's complaints against the incumbent council include that at least one member used tribal credit cards for personal use.
Several members of the prior tribal council were indicted on charges that included misuse of tribal and casino funds, but the case fizzled after several years and most of the more serious charges were dropped. By 2008, all that remained were a few charges of failure to pay taxes against two of the tribal leaders.
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