Leech Lake Band official faces prosecution over loan agreement
A leader of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Indians in Minnesota is under fire for signing a loan agreement without the approval of the tribal council.

Secretary/treasurer Mike Bongo extended a loan of $2.4 million loan to Bill and Kathy Bieloh, the owners of the Moondance Jam company. Bongo admitted he entered into the deal without the signature of the chairman, as required by the tribal constitution.

“This is the biggest, most blatant violation I’ve ever heard of," Chairman Arthur "Archie" LaRose said at an emotional council meeting, The Bemidji Pioneer reported. “I’m going to push and pursue criminal charges against Mike Bongo. He’s given us a black eye in Indian Country.”

Bongo signed the loan on September 14, according to the paper. The rest of the tribal council learned of the deal on September 22. Two days later, Bill Bieloh died.

The tribal council voted to prosecute Bongo and two other officials who have been terminated. Bongo is also the target of a recall petition.

Get the Story:
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe: Investigation into Moondance Jam loan prompts petition for removal of Secretary/Treasurer Bong (The Bemidji Pioneer 11/22)