March 28, 2014

Redskins foundation CEO wasted funds

Cherokee man serves as CEO of 'Original Americans Foundation'Gary L. Edwards, a member of the Cherokee Nation, is serving as the chief executive officer of the new "Original Americans Foundation" started by the owner of the Washington professional football team.

Edwards is well known in Indian Country for his law enforcement background. He recently retired from the U.S. Secret Service and serves as CEO of the National Native American Law Enforcement Association.

Edwards told The Washington Post that he has "no problem" with the team's racist mascot. He also said anyone who question the sincerity of owner Dan "Snyder is "uninformed."

"All you have to do is go back and look at the NFL and you’ve got to look at their diversity policy where it talks about respect, where it talks about inclusion, where it talks about opportunities for all people in America, to all races in America, and probably one of the ones that have been left out the most is Indian Country, and Dan, through this awareness of the surveys and the things going on, he realized, ‘Hey, we can do more,'" Edwards told the paper.
Redskins foundation head drew criticism in I.G. report

By Brent SchrotenboerThe head of the Washington NFL team's new foundation for Native Americans also oversees an association that a 2012 government report said provided "no benefit" in exchange for almost $1 million in federal funds intended to help Native Americans.

Gary Edwards, a Cherokee and retired member of the U.S. Secret Service, was hired to run the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, a charity created by team owner Daniel Snyder. The charity aims to assist Native Americans as Snyder continues to rebut criticism that his team's nickname is offensive.

"Even though I am a Vikings fan, I hope Dan Snyder does more background research on his team's potential draft picks than it appears he did on his foundation's CEO," U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), a co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, told USA TODAY Sports.

Edwards is CEO of the National Native American Law Enforcement Association (NNALEA), a nonprofit whose contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs was scrutinized in a report by the federal Office of Inspector General. The May 2012 report said that the NNALEA took advantage of the government in a contract that called for the NNALEA to help recruit "critically needed" law enforcement officers to work in Indian Country.

The government "received no benefit when they awarded a recruitment services contract to NNALEA, thus wasting almost $1 million," the report states.

The report says the NNALEA provided the government with 748 applications, "none of which were of use to" the Office of Justice Services, the report states.
CEO of new Washington Redskins foundation connected to ‘defective’ federal contract

By Theresa Vargas and Tom JackmanThe investigation, outlined in a 2012 inspector general’s report, found that of the 748 applications the organization supplied, none were usable. One applicant was 80 years old. Several were not U.S. citizens. Of the 514 applications reviewed by the inspector general’s office, only 22 were of Indian descent. The inspector general’s office advised that the contract be terminated immediately, and it was. But then the bureau paid Edwards’s group an additional $600,000 as “settlement costs,” meaning it received almost the entire $1 million of the contract.

This week, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder introduced Edwards—first in a letter to fans and then at a meeting with fellow National Football League team owners—as the head of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation. The foundation, according to Snyder’s letter, “will address the urgent challenges plaguing Indian country based on what tribal leaders tell us they need most.” Already, it has donated 3,000 coats to Native Americans and helped purchased a backhoe for a tribe.

On Tuesday, team General Manager Bruce Allen praised Edwards, a Cherokee and retired deputy assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service, on a video broadcast, saying, “I think we have the right leader in Gary Edwards.”

Edwards did not respond to attempts to reach him Thursday, but in a statement released through the team, he said his organization “believes it met and exceeded all of its obligations under the contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice Services, and subsequently was paid after the contract was completed.”
Botched Job Taints Resume of Dan Snyder's New Native Friend

By Gale Courey ToensingAn interesting choice, observed Carly Hare, Pawnee/Yankton and the executive director of Native Americans in Philanthropy. “There are a number of amazing Native foundation leaders who could have been a strong advisory resource.”

Hare, like so many other Native Americans, was not thrilled at the announcement of Snyder’s OAF. She wrote, “I woke up to Dan Snyder's letter on my phone and the message: ‘Poverty Porn meets White Privilege in taking Cultural Appropriations to a whole 'nother level. Mind blowing... full inception.’”

The OIG’s investigation of Edwards’ contract with the BIA was aimed at finding out if the BIA’s Office of Justice Services (OJS) received the intended benefits by awarding a $1 million contract to NNALEA to provide 500 qualified Native American law enforcement applicants to serve in law enforcement positions on reservations. Qualified applicants had to meet legislative requirements, regulations and guidelines for employment of federal law enforcement officers, such as Indian preference, citizenship, age parameters and education.

The OIG’s May 9, 2012, investigation report came down hard on both the BIA and NNALEA. “We found that the OJS received no benefit when they awarded a recruitment services contract to NNALEA, thus wasting almost $1 million.”
BIA acknowledges 'failed' contract with head of team's foundationThe Bureau of Indian Affairs said it has implemented new procedures in response to a "failed" contract with the leader of the controversial Original Americans Foundation.

“After the current Office of Justice Services (OJS) management became aware of the previous Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (BIA) Law Enforcement Recruitment Services Contract with the National Native American Law Enforcement Association (NNALEA), the issues that surrounded the failed contract award highlighted the need to improve the administrative guidance and support available to OJS management and field staff," the BIA said in a statement. "OJS has implemented several measures to ensure OJS staff have the appropriate guidance when developing future contracts and are adhering to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)."
Comment:  I just listened to the short video of Gary Edwards, #Redskins OAF. Note that he says the foundation's primary mission is to raise "awareness," not to spend money. I think it's safe to assume OAF won't have a significant impact on Indian country.

For more on OAF, see Deconstructing Snyder's OAF Letter and Indian Country Scorns Redskins Foundation.

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