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Two cases involving Principal Chief scheduled in tribal court today

Three of the 15 allegations raised against Principal Chief John Red Eagle in a motion to form a Congressional committee of inquiry are also the focuses of two separate court cases scheduled to be heard July 11 (today) in Osage Nation Trial Court.

The Osage News filed a June 18 complaint in ON Trial Court requesting a hearing and to compel the Chief to release the contract between pipeline consultant Rod Hartness and the Nation to the newspaper. The newspaper requested a copy of the contract in January, but never received a copy, which led to the court filing. On June 26, Chief Red Eagle’s attorney Kirke Kickingbird filed a written response to the complaint and included a copy of the Hartness contract.

On July 2, during a special meeting, the Osage NewsEditorial Board voted to instruct its attorney Stephen Lee to issue a demand letter to Principal Chief John Red Eagle’s legal counsel to pay the newspaper’s legal fees and court costs for its suit in Osage Nation Trial Court. Stating that if Chief Red Eagle denied the request, then the newspaper would proceed with its case.

Also slated for July 11 is a scheduling conference regarding the ethics complaint filed against Chief Red Eagle by ON Attorney General Jeff Jones.

Jones filed two ethics violations against Chief John Red Eagle on June 12, describing incidents involving an AG’s office employee and an Osage Nation Gaming Enterprise Board member.

AG Jeff Jones filed a three-count written complaint describing two incidents that occurred in May, where he believes Chief Red Eagle broke tribal law when he allegedly interfered with an investigation by contacting AG Investigator Brian Herbert and demanded that an investigation involving a “certain person” stop immediately. Jones also alleges that Chief Red Eagle contacted the Gaming Enterprise Board and told them “that they will pay” for travel expenses for board member Randy Carnett when the board decided not to pay for the entire travel to cut costs.

Jones is asking the court to find the Chief guilty of the ethics violations and for the Chief to be sentenced within the range of punishment per tribal ethics law.

Chief Red Eagle has previously denied the allegations and issued a statement: “I absolutely deny the allegations that anything unethical has occurred, and look forward to defending this vigorously.”

In both cases, Chief Trial Court Judge Marvin Stepson recused himself and appointed Ponca City area Judge Lee Stout to hear the two cases as an Associate Judge of the ON Trial Court.

With regard to the 15 allegations made public July 8 after they were raised in a motion to form a select committee of inquiry to investigate those allegations made by Congressman William “Kugee” Supernaw, the Congress voted July 9 to form a Select Committee of Inquiry to investigate the 15 allegations stating that Chief Red Eagle allegedly “abused the power of his elected position” several times and allegedly did not uphold Osage and federal law in several separate events starting in 2010, with those alleged events occurring as recent as this month.

In three of those allegations, the Osage News is mentioned. They are:

9.     The Chief “abused the power of his elected position to improperly oppress the editor of the Osage News by withholding signatures or ordering signatures be withheld on travel requests and Osage housing assistance documents in retaliation for articles written in the Osage News. Approximate dates: January 2011-June 2013.”

10.  The Chief “abused the power of his elected position by refusing to pay his campaign advertising costs to the Osage News after his election for a time period in excess of (10) months claiming he should not have to pay it since he was elected Principal Chief. Approximate dates: April 2010-August 2011.”

11.  The Chief “abused the power of his elected position to improperly withhold one or more contracts between the Osage Nation and Rod Hartness properly requested under the Open Records Act by the Osage News staff andThe Bigheart Times staff. Approximate dates: January 2013-June 2013.”

Regarding the allegations involving the Osage News, Editor Shannon Shaw Duty issued the following comment: “Since the allegations made against Principal Chief John Red Eagle need to be investigated and I have yet to testify about the situations involving the newspaper and my private residence, I don’t feel it is appropriate to speak publicly. I will let the investigation take its course and if the matter comes before a court proceeding, I am ready to testify. There are individuals and employees involved that if they need protection, I wish for them to remain anonymous until it is necessary for them to come forward. I would regret any repercussions made to them, if any.”


By

Benny Polacca


Original Publish Date: 2013-07-11 00:00:00

Author

  • Benny Polacca

    Title: Senior Reporter

    Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

    Instagram: @bpolacca

    Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

    Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

    Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

    Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

    Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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Benny Polacca
Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org

Title: Senior Reporter

Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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