First Nations Chiefs: Screwing the Screwed?
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
It is certainly distressing to find out financial misappropriations of Casino Funds by Chiefs of First Nations Casinos. Who would have imagined First Nations members screwing other First Nations members.
It has been reported that funds from Casino profits meant to be distrubuted to much needed First Nations Communities seem to be a a trickling pittance when compared to the millions of dollars First Nations Casinos bring in Daily.
A recent audit has now shown 3 million dollars of Casino porfits went to a non existant or quasi questionable First Nations Band, more of a storefront actually, which seems to have only one "missing in action" member as hereditary chief.
This 3 million in Casino profits could have been better spent on priority First Nations communities which are in dire straits.
Many First Nations communities common complaints of Chiefs hiring family members or giving money to family members for infrastructure projects or other activities certainly is starting to ring true when a First Nations "Band of Brothers".
Chiefs hired to protect the interests of their peoples seem to be "Shooting Craps" when rolling the financial dice, resulting in Snake Eyes for First Nations communites.
First Nations Casino Board of Directors certainly need new Pit Bosses in order for the Casinos to be viable, and free of corrupt practises, or it will be taken away by the Federal Government who will no doubt use the majority of the profits in government adminsitration costs in managing the First Nations Casinos.
Thus a Federal presence will further reduce any casino porfit monies for First Nations communities to token payments.
First Nations Casinos unlike Mainstream Casinos were not to abide by the "House always Wins" when profits are meant for a struggling peoples.
Native cashout comes up short
Questions raised over expenses, funds for unrecognized band !
Millions of Casino Rama dollars meant to help lift First Nations out of poverty have been swallowed by legal fees, unexplained expenses and payments to at least one band that doesn't officially exist, suggest newly released audits.
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information outline how a small board of native directors distributes about $60 million a year from the casino near Orillia to 133 chiefs in the province.
Between 2002 and 2006, the Ontario First Nations Ltd. Partnership paid out more than $7 million in legal fees to fight two protracted disputes over Rama funds.
The five-member oversight agency also racked up travel costs of $369,172 along with $1.4 million in undisclosed expenses averaging about $300,000 a year.
Those claims were in addition to annual staff and office costs, including $293,635 for salaries and benefits for the year ending March 31, 2006.
The most recent audit available for 2005-06 sheds light on how much is being spent to manage money that's desperately needed in some of Ontario's poorest communities. First Nations received $60.3 million compared with $4.3 million -- just over 7% -- paid in legal, administrative and other expenses cited by the management board.
But perhaps the most questionable item is about $3 million paid over the past decade to the Poplar Point First Nation, a so-called "near band" not officially recognized by the federal government. It once ran out of a storefront in Thunder Bay, but the telephone number is out of service.
A relative of the man who claims to be Poplar Point's hereditary chief says he hasn't been around for months.