Former Quapaw Chair Booted from Election Race, Denies Corruption

Posted on: June 14, 2021, 04:12h. 

Final up to date on: June 14, 2021, 04:34h.

Former chairman of the Quapaw Nation John Berrey’s bid to regain political energy lies in tatters at the moment. That’s following the tribe’s resolution to disqualify him from looking for re-election as tribal vice-president.

John Berrey
John Berrey has been accused of corruption and embezzlement and kicked out of the election course of. He went on the offensive this week. (Picture: Arkansas Enterprise)

Berrey led the Nation for 20 years, presiding over its financial transformation into a serious participant in Oklahoma’s tribal gaming trade. However he faces criminal complaints within the Quapaw Tribal Court docket, the place he’s accused of a number of counts of conspiracy, theft, and abuse of workplace.

Final week, the Quapaw Nation Enterprise Committee voted 6-1 to ban Berrey from the election race, declaring him “unsuitable for candidacy.”

‘Misspent Tens of millions’

The tribe is rich. It owns two casinos on its reservation in Oklahoma, the Quapaw On line casino, and the Downstream On line casino Resort, in addition to the Saracen Resort in Arkansas, its historic homeland. It additionally owns a golf course in Missouri.

However a forensic audit into the development technique of the Saracen found that $34 million in tribal funds could have been misspent on “pay raises, bonuses, severance pay, and donations.”

The auditors imagine Berrey and the Nation’s former secretary treasurer, Tamara Smiley-Reeves, siphoned the cash from the Growth Authority with out the approval of the Enterprise Committee.

The Quapaw Tribal Gaming Authority instigated the audit after it started inspecting sure allegations in opposition to Berrey and others on social media concerning extreme bonuses paid to tribal leaders and on line casino executives.

Accompanying the legal grievance is a civil lawsuit that seeks $7 million, plus damages, from Berrey and several other of his former workers members, claiming fraud and unjust enrichment.

He’s additionally accused of treason in opposition to the Nation for submitting since-abandoned defamation costs in a nontribal courtroom associated to the accusations in opposition to him.

‘Not About Me’

Berrey instructed The Joplin Globe the choice in addition him from the method proved the Enterprise Committee was “terrified” that he may expose them, implying corruption.

He added that the Enterprise Committee overruled the Election Committee in taking the choice, which was unprecedented.

“The actual story just isn’t John Berrey,” he claimed to the Globe. “The story is the destruction of the property and companies of the Quapaw Nation, and the wealth is being detoured to non-Indian legal professionals, and the ache that’s being precipitated. It’s actually hurting a number of households and other people inside the Nation.”

“I’ve not obtained any due course of afforded to me by the US Structure and the Indian Civil Rights Act. I simply hope and pray that I can get a good shake in courtroom,” he added.

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