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ON Attorney General investigating Chief’s appointee contract

The public disclosure of the Osage Nation Executive Branch check registry for a three-month period is now the target of an Attorney General’s Office investigation.

Questions were raised about a contract for an appointee of Principal Chief John Red Eagle and whether those job duties benefit the Nation or Chief Red Eagle.

The appointee at issue, Paul Allen, has a contract with the Chief’s office to be a Web specialist, but the AG’s office is calling that agreement into question. This topic could also be considered during the sixth special session of the Third ON Congress starting July 8.

AG Jeff Jones said his office viewed the check registry, made public after Chief Red Eagle released a copy to The Bigheart Times under the open records act, and that’s where Allen’s name was noticed. According to the check registry for the period starting Jan. 1 and ending April 15 of this year, Allen was paid $1,153.85 eight times from the Executive Branch’s budget, funded with tribal money.

The check payments were made in accordance with the Nation’s employee pay schedule and those amounts, if paid each pay period for one year, total $30,000.10 – a dime over the $30,000 cap noted in Allen’s contract valid for the 2013 fiscal year.

The website Allen works on for Chief Red Eagle is www.johnredeagle.com and does not belong to the Nation. The website served as Chief Red Eagle’s campaign website when he ran for office in 2010. The same Web site address is listed on campaign pamphlets distributed by Chief Red Eagle’s campaign team during that election season.

According to a Web site domain check, www.johnredeagle.com is not registered under the Osage Nation. Chief Red Eagle is listed as the administrative contact along with the email address “pa@paulallen.biz” and the physical address listed is 126 E. 6th St. – the former location of the Osage Nation Tax Commission in 2010. The domain name was created on April 13, 2006 and expires on the same day next year.

Jones said an investigation of the contract is ongoing, adding he would submit any findings to the Congress if sought via Congressional subpoena. Regarding Allen’s contract, Jones said his office had questions including: “Who is he and what is he doing?”   

The Osage News obtained a copy of the contract from the ON Congressional office in which Allen is referred to as a contractor who “shall serve at the pleasure of the Principal Chief as a political appointee or exempt employee to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of Web Specialist to the Osage Nation Executive Office of Government.”

Allen’s contract states that he: shall maintain and update the Office of the Chief’s website; shall monitor the (Chief’s) blog and post the Principal Chief’s responses on a weekly basis; shall produce a newsletter to be distributed on a monthly basis from the Office of the Principal Chief; shall perform all other duties as assigned as they relate to updating the (Chief’s) website.”

“I don’t know where it’s going to go or how it’s going to end up,” Jones said of the contract investigation.

Chief Red Eagle was out of the office and unavailable for comment on July 3.

On July 2, Allen confirmed to the Osage News that he is still an appointee of the Chief’s office and has been since he was elected. “I moved here six years ago and I wanted to be closer to my heritage and become more involved, and boy, did we get involved.”

Allen said he worked in the Nation’s IT department before he was appointed. He said he has been a computer programmer since 1965.

“I do some work for him (Chief Red Eagle) and maintain his website, and some other things he asks me to do. It’s a part-time job,” Allen said. “My opinion of the Osage Nation website is terrible, and he maintains his own website and it’s johnredeagle.com.”

The johnredeagle.com Web site includes a bio page about Red Eagle, a former Assistant Principal Chief, whose Chief term expires next year. He has not publically stated whether he’ll run for re-election in 2014. The website contains various messages written by Chief Red Eagle including legislative actions and the wind farm debate in western Osage County. It also includes contact information for governmental offices including Chief’s office, housing, education, CDIB/Membership and Constituent Services with rating polls on those pages asking site visitors to rate those entities with a grade ranging from “excellent” to “horrible.”

“I have put some polls on there to vote and he (Red Eagle) may get kind of aggravated with me and I’m asking questions in those polls … I was treated terribly bad when I went through all that with the campaign by certain people. I had to take it because I had (a medical condition) real bad and I couldn’t fight it, but I’m not sick anymore,” Allen said.

According to a 2010 news release announcing Chief Red Eagle’s appointee staff when he took office, Allen (Osage) was hired to be the Chief’s communications officer. But due to “vicious” behavior by one of Red Eagle’s other appointees, he was blocked from doing his job and was screamed at to leave.

Allen was hesitant to speak about the appointee for fear of repercussion. He said he and others told Chief Red Eagle time and time again that the person was a problem for his office and gave bad counsel on more than one occasion to the chief. The appointee is still there.

Allen also said he was not paid by Red Eagle’s campaign when he worked on his website in 2010, he volunteered his time. According to Chief Red Eagle’s 2010 election campaign contribution report, Allen donated website goods valued at $3,500.

“I don’t’ know what is going to come of all of this. But Brian (Herbert, Investigator for the ON Attorney General), the policeman, came over this morning and asked a bunch of questions,” Allen said. “(Herbert) said I didn’t have to answer them and I told him, I don’t have anything to hide. If it blows something up then that’s fine, we’re all in God’s hands and he’ll take care of us.”

The sixth special session starting July 8 may run up to 10 days and could be extended up to an additional three days with majority Congressional approval. Any actions proposed on the investigation, including whether to subpoena information from Jones, will be up to the legislative body.

Listed on the special session proclamation dated June 20 is a motion to form a Select Committee of Inquiry – a five-person Congressional committee created to review allegations against elected or appointed officials that may constitute grounds for removal.

The proposed motion to create the inquiry committee was listed one week after Jones filed an ethics complaint in ON Trial Court against Chief Red Eagle on June 12 describing two events that occurred where the Chief allegedly broke law.

Chief Red Eagle has said he denies the allegations and that he will defend himself against the allegations.

Congressional Speaker Raymond Red Corn said July 3 that a motion to form the inquiry committee is being drafted by a member of Congress working with Legislative Counsel, and is expected to be finished by Monday for special session.

Location

Osage Nation Executive Branch of Government

627 Grandview

PawhuskaOK

United States


By

Benny Polacca


Original Publish Date: 2013-07-03 00:00:00

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Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.
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