Paiute Tribe removes chairwoman for accepting NFL team's gifts

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

Leaders of the Paiute Tribe of Utah voted 5 to 0 to remove Chairwoman Gari Lafferty from office because she accepted gifts from the Washington NFL team.

The vote came after the council held a hearing for Lafferty on Tuesday. She was accused, among other charges, of working against the tribe's interests by accepting a free trip to Washington, D.C., and other items of value from the team and from the Original Americans Foundation, a non-profit set up by the team to dispel criticism of its racist mascot.

"The role of a tribal official is to act to make the tribe better, but the actions of Gari Lafferty since she took office have served neither the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah nor its elected council," Vice Chairwoman Jeanine Borchardt said in a press release. "Gari Lafferty's actions served only her self-interest. We are deeply saddened in taking this action."

A notice of charges filed against Lafferty noted 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.

The tribe will hold a special election on April 30 to choose a new chair. The leader will be chosen by tribal members among the remaining members on the council.

Get the Story:
Utah’s Paiute Indian Tribe chairwoman removed from office after taking gifts from NFL team (The Salt Lake Tribune 4/2)
Tribe’s infighting offers glimpse into Redskins foundation’s tactics (The Washington Post 4/2)

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