Lower Sioux Tribal Members To Hold Protest, Demand Council Resignations News conference, protest set for 12:00 noon Monday, July 24, at the Lower

Sioux Government/Community Center, 39527 Res Highway 1, Morton MN 56270



    MORTON, Minn., July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Concerned members of the Lower
 Sioux Community will hold a news conference at noon Monday, July 24, at the
 reservation's community center in Morton in conjunction with a protest
 designed to force the resignations of Tribal Chairman Sheldon Wolfchild,
 Vice Chairman Scott Adolphson and Secretary Shannon Blue. The protest
 organizers are among more than 180 tribal members, a majority of eligible
 tribal voters, who have signed a petition demanding that the three resign
 because they have committed violations of tribal and federal law.
     The latest demand for resignations was triggered last week when
 Wolfchild suspended the gaming licenses of four key employees of the
 tribe's Jackpot Junction Casino. The casino's general manager, assistant
 manager, controller and head of security were effectively fired, since
 under federal and tribal law, they cannot work at the casino without valid
 licenses.
     In a news release issued Saturday, tribal attorney Steven Sandven said
 the employees were fired because they refused to provide financial
 information to the Tribal Gaming Commission. Tribal treasurer Dennis
 Prescott said Sunday that Sandven's claim was "an absolute falsification of
 the facts."
     According to Prescott, the employees had provided all the financial
 information requested. In fact, Prescott said, it is Tribal Secretary
 Shannon Blue that has refused to provide financial information, even
 denying Prescott access to the financial records for which he is
 responsible under tribal law. Prescott said the employees were fired for
 political reasons.
     Under normal procedures, casino managers provide financial reports to
 the Tribal Council showing current gaming proceeds, and then Council
 members allocate those proceeds to tribal members in accordance with their
 federally approved revenue allocation plan. Under federal law, only Tribal
 Council members may make decisions affecting revenue allocation and per
 capita payments.
     Whittaker said he and two of the three other terminated employees
 received a "subpoena" last Tuesday from the Tribal Gaming Commission
 demanding that they appear at a hearing on charges that they had failed to
 comply with the tribe's revenue allocation plan. Since the allocation plan
 is under the exclusive control of the Tribal Council, none of the employees
 had ever had any authority or control over it.
     The employees became concerned about the true purpose of the hearing,
 and asked permission to bring along Prescott, and another Council member,
 and their own legal counsel. The Commission denied the request, so the
 employees declined to attend the hearing. Soon after, their licenses were
 suspended, and their jobs were taken over by others whose licensing status
 remains in question.
     Tribal members have petitioned Wolfchild, Adolphson and Blue to resign
 previously, but the three ignored the challenge. The first petition was
 circulated shortly after the three officials, who comprise a majority on
 the Council, voted to add nine members to the tribal rolls in possible
 violation of tribal and federal laws. Members of the Lower Sioux Community
 asked the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) more than seven months
 ago to rule on whether the enrollments were legal, but so far the NIGC has
 failed to issue a decision. Dennis Prescott said he and other concerned
 community members have been told they can expect a decision on Monday.
     "This government has acted like a runaway train," Prescott said. "The
 majority of community members now recognize that they made a very bad
 decision when they put these three individuals in charge. We are determined
 to undo that decision and put the government back in the hands of the
 people."
 
 

SOURCE Dennis Prescott

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