Patrick Lambert served as principal chief of the the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from October 2015 through May 2017. Photo: Patrick Lambert

Audit questions some spending within Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Leaders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are still looking into spending during the administration of a chief who was impeached, the tribe's newspaper reports.

The Cherokee One Feather posted the first 10 pages of an audit that questions the spending by Patrick Lambert, who was removed from office in May 2017. Tribal leaders should consider seeking reimbursement from firms that were connected to the former chief's tenure, the document states.

The call has been heeded. Following the release of the audit, the tribal council approved a resolution which urges various tribal entities to "coordinate and use their best efforts and all legal means to obtain satisfactory explanations, information, accountings and return of monies wrongfully paid, if any," The One Feather reported.

According to the audit, conducted by KPMG LLC, a law firm billed the tribe for legal services that might be in question. The firm had been brought on at Lambert's direction yet some of the work -- which cost around $9,100 -- appeared to have been performed before he actually took office in October 2015, the document states.

Additionally, the tribe paid two firms to remodel Lambert's office. According to the audit, the work may have been initiated without prior approval from the tribal council because it cost more than $50,000.

The audit focused solely on Lambert's tenure, between October 2015 and May 2017. The spending on the law firm and for the remodeling was raised during his impeachment proceedings before the tribal council in May 2017.

Following Lambert's removal, Richard G. Sneed took over as chief. He has faced questions about his actions regarding a settlement to a lawsuit in tribal court and was the subject of a suspension resolution that went before the council last month, The Smoky Mountain News reported.

Though the effort failed at a February 1 meeting, some council members brought up the possibility of initiating impeachment against Sneed, the paper reported.

Read More on the Story:
Tribe to dig deeper into forensic audit findings (The Cherokee One Feather March 8, 2018)
Sneed survives suspension attempt (The Smoky Mountain News February 7, 2018)

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