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Cayuga Nation accuses citizens of fraud for opening up smokeshop

Two members of the Cayuga Nation have set up a smokeshop at the Finger Lakes Drive-in in Auburn, New York. Photo from Facebook

A long-running leadership dispute within the Cayuga Nation of New York is spilling over into another business venture.

Two tribal citizens recently acquired a 1.19-acre property at the Finger Lakes Drive-in and have started selling cigarettes there, The Auburn Citizen reports. And by acquire, Dustin "Dusty" Parker and Jason Silversmith bought it for $0, the paper said.

Further, the name that appears on property records is "Cayuga Nation," the paper reported. But the tribe is not involved in the business and did not authorize it, according to an attorney for one faction of the tribe and the leader of another faction of the tribe.

"They have no governmental authority and seem to be operating totally on their own," Joseph Heath, the attorney for one faction, told the paper. "The Cayuga Nation is not selling tobacco products at the Finger Lakes Drive-in," Clint Halftown, the leader of another faction, said in a statement to the paper.

But Parker and Silversmith aren't worried that Heath and Halftown are accusing them of fraudulent and illegal activities at their "Peacekeepers Tobacco Trail" smokeshop. They told the paper that they answer to yet another faction on the reservation, one composed of the 10 traditional chiefs of the tribe.

"We're promoting that the circle of 10 chiefs sort out the issues of the Cayuga Nation so that all parties within the nation can achieve peace and prosperity," Parker told the paper.

The tribe's leadership has been up in the air for more than a decade. The Bureau of Indian Affairs used to deal with Halftown but now says he isn't the tribe's federal representative

Read More the Story:
Why the Cayuga Nation is selling cigarettes at the Finger Lakes Drive-in (The Auburn Citizen 8/14)
Cigarette vendors behind Finger Lakes Drive-In dispute Cayuga Nation's 'rogue smokeshop' claim (The Auburn Citizen 8/12)

An Opinion:
Our view: Cayuga Nation must resolve to end internal feud (The Auburn Citizen 8/14)

2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Cayuga Nation v. Tanner (June 2, 2016)

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