Ruby Stump rests on her front porch as members of mold remediation teams retrieve personal belongings from her flooded basement on the Rocky Boy's Reservation in Montana in August 2010. Photo: Andrea Booher / Federal Emergency Management Agency

Chippewa Cree Tribe can't account for millions of dollars from federal contracts

The Chippewa Cree Tribe can't account for millions of dollars in federal spending and the Bureau of Indian Affairs doesn't appear to be helping matters.

The tribe and the BIA failed to provide basic documents for a $2 million federal contract, according to the Office of Inspector General. Therefore "we question the entire $2 million in costs claimed by the tribe," an August 28 report stated.

On a second matter, the tribe was unable to account for $1.5 million in federal spending, according to the Inspector General. The BIA failed to ensure oversight of the contract, the August 21 report stated.

The reports, which were first disclosed by The Associated Press, come as the tribe struggles to recover from a widespread corruption probe on the Rocky Boy's Reservation in Montana. More than two dozen Chippewa Cree leaders, employees and associates were ensnared by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Montana and its Guardians Project.

In some cases, tribal leaders and employees pleaded guilty for taking funds from federal contracts. In other cases, associates secured kickbacks in connection with programs and projects funded by federal contracts.

One corruption case was resolved with a prison term and $4 million in restitution in June, The Billings Gazette reported. A related case, involving the tribe's online lending operation, was resolved in August with prison terms and $2.5 million in restitution, the AP reported.

The tribe was flush with cash after severe storms and flooding on the reservation in 2010. According to government attorneys who prosecuted the corruption cases, the tribe received $420.4 million in federal funds between October 2007 and September 2012.

Read More on the Story:
Montana's Chippewa Cree Tribe can't account for $3.5 million, auditors say (The Associated Press October 2, 2017)
2 Las Vegas executives get prison time in Montana corruption case (The Associated Press August 28, 2017)
Critical water shortage hits Rocky Boy Indian Reservation (The Associated Press July 13, 2017)
Billings contractor's corruption case ends with $4M restitution, prison time (The Billings Gazette June 8, 2017)

Office of Inspector General Reports:
Audit of Incurred Costs of Contract Associated with Public Voucher No. PV08C55091 Between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Chippewa Cree Tribe (August 28, 2017)
Audit of Agreement No. A13AP00009 Between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Chippewa Cree Tribe (August 21, 2017)
Improvements Needed in the Bureau of Reclamation's Oversight of Tribal Rural Water Projects (July 31, 2017)

Related Stories:
Chippewa Cree Tribe set to recover $2.5M from online lending firm (May 4, 2017)
Lending firm accused of stealing $3.5M from Chippewa Cree Tribe (April 13, 2016)
Chippewa Cree Tribe yet to emerge from wide-ranging scandal (March 29, 2016)
Chippewa Cree Tribe received $420M in federal funds over five years (December 3, 2015)