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Principal Chief Richard Sneed is now under investigation following the Cherokee Tribal Council’s unanimous vote Jan. 4 to look into a settlement agreement he signed off on to pay seven former tribal employees a total of $698,000.

The FBI’s investigation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Cherokee Agency’s deputy superintendent Ruth Marie Sequoyah McCoy goes far deeper than the charges of marriage fraud that she and 11 others are currently facing, according to recently filed court documents.

The strange saga of Haywood County Tax Collector Mike Matthews isn’t over, but for the moment the spotlight is back on the Haywood County Board of County Commissioners.

A team of 26 FBI agents descended on Cherokee Feb. 2, filling the Qualla Housing Authority building and wheeling entire filing cabinets, as well as papers and hard drives, into a U-Haul parked to the side of the building.

Rumors have been flying on the Qualla Boundary since an investigation into contract awards and human resources actions under Principal Chief Patrick Lambert’s administration was completed last week. The report, a redacted copy of which was posted on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council Facebook page, states that the investigated actions “deviated from the Cherokee Code and other documented policies and processes.”

Tempers flared in Cherokee Tribal Council this month as some councilmembers alleged that a subset of their colleagues had gone rogue, holding backroom meetings in which they decided to subpoena tribal departments for sensitive information as part of investigations launched without the knowledge of the full council.

A tribal authority tasked with helping tribal members find housing is under investigation by the FBI for “possible criminal conduct related to certain loans and loan applications, among other matters,” according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice dated Oct. 4 and delivered to the program’s director, Charlene Owle.

Some members of the Cherokee Tribal Council are saying that something’s amiss in how hire-fire decisions are being made in tribal government, and in a narrow decision the council voted to order a third-party investigation into those issues. 

The former director of an organization charged with spurring community development on the Qualla Boundary has pled guilty to embezzling nearly $1 million from the institution she once led, bringing almost three years of investigation and prosecution to a close.

cherokeeA member of Cherokee’s Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise board is under investigation following a public uproar surrounding her alleged behavior at a Jennifer Nettles concert Feb. 6 at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.

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