Quapaw Nation Costs Former Chairman Berrey with Embezzlement

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Posted on: April 20, 2021, 07:05h. 

Final up to date on: April 20, 2021, 10:25h.

The Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma filed prison expenses on Monday towards its former chairman.

Quapaw
John Berrey, seen within the photograph above, inspects the development website of the Saracen on line casino, which opened its first section in Pine Bluff, Ark. in 2019. (Arkansas On-line)

The Nation is accusing John L Berrey within the tribal court docket of embezzlement and different crimes. Accompanying the prison criticism is a civil lawsuit that seeks $7 million, plus damages, from Berrey and several other of his former workers members, claiming fraud and unjust enrichment.

Berrey “constantly abused his authority as Chairman through the use of tribal funds and belongings for his personal private profit and the good thing about these round him,” in line with a information launch from the tribe.

Because the Nation’s chief for 20 years, Berrey oversaw a lot of its financial improvement. The tribe is rich, proudly owning two casinos on its reservation in Oklahoma, the Quapaw On line casino, and the Downstream On line casino Resort, in addition to a golf resort in Missouri.

A 3rd on line casino, the Saracen Resort, grew to become the primary purpose-built on line casino in Arkansas when it opened in Pine Bluff in 2019.

$34 Million ‘Misspent’

The $350 million Saracen development course of just lately grew to become the topic of a forensic audit following a whistleblower’s criticism. Auditors found that $34 million in tribal funds could have been misspent on “pay raises, bonuses, severance pay, and donations.”

Based on the auditors, each Berrey and the Nation’s former secretary treasurer, Tamara Smiley-Reeves, siphoned the cash from the Downstream Growth Authority with out the approval of the tribal enterprise committee, a violation of the tribe’s code.

The complaints define varied ranges of involvement and collaboration between the people to pay each other unlawful bonuses totaling hundreds of thousands of {dollars} and illegally improve base pay and advantages,” the tribe claimed in its information launch.

“The investigation additionally discovered deliberate makes an attempt to hide the illegal conduct by both omitting info from official assembly minutes or protecting info in official tribal data deliberately imprecise.”

Berrey Countersues for Libel

Berrey did not get re-elected as tribal chairman final July. He denies allegations of wrongdoing, and on Monday filed a lawsuit in Cleveland County District County accusing present Quapaw Nation officers of libel.

In a remark to Arkansas Enterprise, he criticized the information launch despatched out Monday.

“It’s awkward that the individuals who introduced this criticism need it to be out within the broader public,” Berrey mentioned.

There’s a solution to tackle complaints within the tribal authorities and that’s the place it ought to remain. That is all politically motivated and it’s false.”

“My primary objective now’s to allay the fears and anxiousness that our tribal members are feeling over all of this nonsense,” he added. “I’ll beat it in court docket, and I’ll return to the Enterprise Committee for the nice of our individuals.”

Berrey mentioned he’s planning to run for vice chairman this summer season.



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