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Paiute Tribe moves to oust leader for accepting NFL team's gifts

Gari Lafferty, the chairwoman of the Paiute Tribe of Utah. Photo from NMAI

The Paiute Tribe of Utah held a hearing on Tuesday to consider removing Chairwoman Gari Lafferty from office because she accepted gifts from the Washington NFL team.

The tribal council adopted a notice of charges against Lafferty last week. The document accuses the leader of accepting a free trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a game in September 2014.

"Your actions in soliciting and accepting gifts from the Redskins for yourself and your family could reasonably be considered to be separate from or adverse to the best interests of the tribe," the charges state.

The document notes that tribal member Phillip Gover is one of the plaintiffs in Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc., the case that seeks the cancellation of the team's trademarks. Gover and Lafferty are first cousins and he believes the team and its Original Americans Foundation specifically approached his tribe to sow division in Indian Country.

"They went after the tribes of those of us fighting this," Gover told Deadspin. "I imagine that's to undermine our case. They think they can say, 'Hey, look: Your tribes took these gifts from us! They're not on your side! They're on our side!'"

"It's so diabolical and underhanded, it just smells of Dan Snyder," Gover added, referring to owner Dan Snyder, who has vowed never to change the name of the team.

After Lafferty attended the game last September, she agreed to accept two vans from the Original Americans Foundation. According to Deadspin, Gary Edwards, the CEO of the non-profit, suggested that he could help the tribe secure an economic development deal but nothing ever came of it.

The outcome of yesterday's hearing was not reported.

Get the Story:
Paiute Tribal Leader Faces Impeachment For Taking Redskins Gifts (Deadspin 4/1)
Tribal official faces impeachment after taking gifts from Dan Snyder (NBC News 4/1)

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