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Friday, August 29, 2014

Chukchansi Factions Nearing Resolutions. Decry "rogue" Leaders.

The Sierra Star News has a full story on the trouble which could be headed for a resolution at the corrupt Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians.

In an effort to resolve the on-going tribal council disputes, on Sunday, Aug. 24, the off-site Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians tribal council, led by Chairman Reggie Lewis, held a mediated settlement meeting in hopes of ending the leadership dispute which has lasted since 2011.
In a 20-hour marathon session, held Sunday on tribal grounds, members of the Lewis faction along with members of each previous council dating back to 2010 were invited to participate in an open discussion to decide the best avenue for the tribal councils to regain order and settle all active disputes.
More than 20 current and ex-tribal council members, consisting of a majority of every tribal council since the Dec. 2010 elections, came together during what tribal members called a momentous session to discuss the future of the Chukchansi tribal council.
During the session, those in attendance executed and signed an agreement which established what is being dubbed the "2014 Unification Tribal Council" that will include Reggie Lewis and Nancy Ayala as co-chairs, and Chance Alberta, Tracey Hopkins, Karen Wynn and Nokomis Hernandez as tribal council members.
The newly appointed unification tribal council (faction) will temporarily conduct the ongoing duties of the tribal council until an official council can be voted on during what is being described as a clean slate election set for May, 2015.
Unification tribal council Co-Chair Ayala expressed her approval of the newly appointed unification council and maintains this is in the best interest of all parties involved and more importantly, the tribal members.
"This agreement is a historic act by tribal members and several different groups within the tribe to protect the tribe's future assets for generations to come," said Co-Chair Ayala. "Each member of the 2014 Unity Tribal Council has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to the tribe. Now we begin the effort of rebuilding the tribe's relationships with the community and our business partners."
Ayala says she is "hopeful" that this will settle all disputes and allow the future council, whoever that might be, to get back to doing business and by reverting back to 2010, Ayala believes the tribe can avoid the evolution of disputes that took place following the 2010 elections.
"We are very hopeful it is going to have a positive affect," Ayala said. "It has taken a long time; we have had a lot of things happen over the years since the beginning of the tribe. This is a turning point, we have put our differences aside and reverted back to 2010 before any of the issues arose."
Attorney for the Lewis faction, Richard Verri, made it clear the reason for holding the "clean slate elections" in May would be to allow every tribal member the opportunity to legally qualify under tribal constitution law for their name to be placed on the May ballot.
According to Verri, the tribal constitution ballot eligibility requirements call for candidates to be tribal members, be 18 years of age, and attend eight of the last 12 tribal meetings, held on the fourth Monday of every month before their names can be placed on an official tribal ballet.
According to Verri, and the various previously elected council members, there was no standard way of verifying if each person attended 8 of the last 12 meetings. Therefore the faction decided to wait until enough meetings could elapse to determine whether or not each candidate officially qualifies.
Verri says he is confident that the tribal council is moving in the right direction and believes a clean slate election would be most beneficial to the tribe.
"It's really encouraging to see the tribe moving together to solve their political difference and come to together to resolve the issue," Verri said.
If held, the May elections would put all seven seats on the tribal council up for grabs and would be decided by votes from the 816+ tribal members.
The letter, signed and agreed upon by the 20 tribal members and previously elected council members, mimics a recent agreement set forth by a previously feuding tribe in Northern California called the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians.
Last month the Nomlaki Indians, having similar disputes, set aside their differences and set a date for a new general election to decide f their tribal council.
Disputes between the Chukchansi tribal councils and various factions began in Dec. 2010 when tribal member, Reggie Lewis, questioned the legitimacy of one of that year's elected tribal council members, Harold Hammond Sr. Lewis claimed Hammond was an illegitimate candidate who should have never been placed on the Dec. 2010 ballet.
However, no definite ruling was given and disputes over the legitimacy of future elections and disenrollments have continued over the years.
The controversy created fractures in the tribal council that led to allegations and disagreements between competing councils which has cost the tribe millions in unrecoverable lost revenue and legal fees. Disagreements include financial improprieties, who controls the tribe and disenrollments which include financial help for future generations of Chukchansi Indians.
According to Verri, all factions were invited to participate in Sunday's session and says the Unification Tribal Council will continue to have meeting on tribal grounds and all tribal members are invited to participate.
"We have welcomed the participation of all the factions, all individuals are encouraged to participate and we want to see the democratic nature expressed in this election," Verri said.
However not everyone agreed to the terms.
Boycotting Sunday's meetings was Chairman for the on-site tribal council, Tex McDonald, Lynda Appling (secretary), Vernon King (treasurer), Monica Davis (vice-chair) who claim to be the constitutionally backed tribal council and are said to have in no way acknowledged the legitimacy of the newly adopted Unification Tribal Council.
"Our Tribe has a set of laws for electing the council. That process is orderly and it doesn't include showing up with a raiding party because you don't like the people who have been constitutionally elected or appointed as leaders. It's very clear to me that those who want to raid the office hate the thought of a forensic financial audit – a professional examination of where these deposed leaders spent our Tribe's money. But regardless, the truth is going to come out," Davis said in a statement released Monday.
The McDonald faction continues to claim their on-site legitimacy and says in no way have they agreed to any of the terms of any agreement involving the Lewis faction. Sunday's on-site session, led by the Lewis faction and other previously elected council members, comes a week after an inter-council tribal dispute took place with the temporary suspension of five members of the McDonald faction and days after Madera County Sheriff's Department posted with a mobile command center outside of the tribal offices and casino after receiving word of a possible hostile take over.
Verri and other faction members claim that the McDonald faction has illegally taken control over the tribal offices. Verri claims McDonald's faction continues to violate federal and tribal law by the refusal to acknowledge the Feb. 2014 ruling by the Bureau of Indian Affairs which acknowledged the 2010 tribal council as the governing body for government to government relations.
However the McDonald faction remains confident that they have remained within the law of the constitution and the BIA's ruling does not decide who is in charge of the tribe. Rather McDonald claims the BIA's decision only refers to the federal and tribal governments government-to-government contracts, relations and payments.
"We cannot let a group of rogue expelled leaders simply decide to take over our Tribe," said Appling. "They can bring in their 'hired guns' and out-of-state tribal cops and try to storm this office, but our legally elected Council will continue to fight back. We are determined to do what the people of our Tribe elected us to do – to lead with integrity and to find out where the millions of dollars missing from our Tribe's coffers have gone."
According to Verri and Ayala the May 2015 "clean slate election" will be monitored by a neutral third party and all tribal councils elected since Dec. 2010 have agreed to recognize the results.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

This just sounds like another ploy for these people to stay in power and keep their corruption from being exposed, don't know, but what do the tribal members think? Why are these rogue leaders making the decision on who should be in council and going against what the tribe voted on? The whole thing sound fishy and from experience with tribal spokesmen it usually is fabricated lies that come out of their mouths to trick the public into thinking that the leaders are ok, even the lawyers are usually just as corrupt, why wouldn't they be, they stand to lose millions. It all comes down to money, follow the money and the evil ones will be known. It is sad that these Casino tribes that are disenrolling are leaving the Indian Way for money, going against their relatives for money, doing everything they can to hurt their own tribal members for money. They should re-enroll all legit members who were there before the Casino was built. If the members are standing behind these rogue leaders, then maybe I am wrong, but if they are not then these rogue leaders should just completely step out of the way and let some honest people, representatives from each family, step in and take over, then at least every family is represented and every tribal member has a voice.

Anonymous said...

Take away their federal recognition and close the casino down, this is the most productive thing that could happen to Chuckchansi. The NIGC is not legitimate in that they do nothing to stop casinos from violating their own Minimum Internal Control Standards. Take the rampant corruption that goes unimpeded at Pechanga Resort and Casino as a prime example. The NIGC is a farce and only enforces their "authority" on lesser, poorer tribes who barely tread water in order to seem legitimate, erstwhile, those that yield huge profits breed cultures of lawlessness. Look at the Oklahoma tribe that had a council member spending $150,000 of the tribes money, then look at Theftanga where employees rob a roulette game of hundreds of thousands dollars and nothing is mentioned of this in the media. No Minimum Internal Control Standards?

Anonymous said...

Is theftanga mean Pechanga?...look also at tribal members stealing reported 100s of thousands of the employees tips with no punishment...I'm glad the employees got back at them if this is true....is Raymond still in the tribe after his big loss at the election?.How soon befor Mark kicks him out?

Anonymous said...

NIGC don't care about tribal matters. Chukchansi Inc. ran by Chance Alberta & Reggie Lewis made there own resolutions to loan Chuk inc money which goes directly into Chance & Reggies pocket. Their lawyers Rob Rosette is part owner in Chuk Inc. talk about a conflict. Rosette says he's half Native, right! Just another crooked white man like Chance & white made Reggie. They have $22mil sitting in the bank gaining interest which should go to the tribal members. Nokomis another crook just like Tracy & Karen! The membership never voted for these crooks. What happened to Mortis Reid's faction?
Tex McDonald is paying the membership their per cap & members schooling as well as the children's clothing allowance. That right there should show who's in charge & RIGTHFUL council.
The hell with Reggie & White boy Chance's fake council. Sorry cousin Nokomis, you part of it too. Screw you too damn threives. You all should tuck your tails for stealing from the membership!
Bastards!

Anonymous said...

What happened, to the 12 million dollars Chance Alberta and Reggie Lewis left with when they were ousted; let us not forget that Chance Alberta was voted off Council but refused to leave prior to this happening. What happened to the millions the Chance Alberta and Reggie Lewis appropriated from the Tribe's Housing Administration AFTER they were ousted. What about the 100's of thousands of dollars Chance Alberta paid himself from the Tribe's water department for work that was never done? In any other organization or establishment, they would be in jail for embezzlement. So how do they get away with it? It's simple, when the noose is tightening, take back control of the tribe by force in an attempt to make sure you are not prosecuted; you are not going to prosecute yourself are you? You may ask yourself, why would Nancy Ayala team up with these guys, they must be sincere in their "unification" ploy,wrong, she embezzled between 2-4 million dollars herself and was also afraid of prosecution; again, she will not prosecute herself. Teaming up with these two crooks isn't half as bad as having to live in a third world country (Turkey) with the money you stole. The only honest member of the "unification" council seems to be Nokomis Hernandez, why doesn't he team up with the McDonald faction, help prosecute the crooks, and do right by all of the other Tribal Members, many of which barely have enough for food. Crooks step down, other members rise up and stay strong!

Anonymous said...

Since the BIA accepts the council that was in place in 2010, maybe the tribal members should get a petition going and send it in that claims who they voted in this last year, and maybe then the BIA will listen. Even though the BIA is just as corrupt, if enough members claim that this Ayala/Lewis faction is not accepted by the people then the BIA might change their conclusion of who the leaders are. You would have to send it via certified mail to DOJ, DOI,the BIA. I don't know if this would work, but it seems like these departments take the leaders words as truth and disregard individual tribal members, but if your whole General Council sends in a signed petition about the meeting and who won the vote, then it should be considered legitimate. Then then if the BIA announces a reversal in their decision your new Chairman and other EC members can finally take over and oust the evil corrupt Ayala Lewis Faction once and for all and have them prosecuted for their crimes against their people.

Anonymous said...

Someone should tell tex that the butler building is easier to take than the compound. And Monica need s to stop sterling documents from the tribal court. Using a crow bar to enter the court is sedition and treason Monica!!!!!!! Step down from your pedi stool before your knock down skank.