April 06, 2015

Paiute leader impeached over Redskins OAF

Redskins OAF, the Redskins charitable foundation, is back in the news. As usual, not in a good way:

Utah Paiute tribal leader accused of taking bribes from Washington Redskins, facing impeachment

By Ashton EdwardsA Utah Paiute tribal leader accused of taking bribes from the Washington Redskins and is now facing impeachment.

According to official documents, Gari Pikyavit Lafferty, the tribe’s highest-ranking elected official, is accused of accepting gifts from Dan Snyder’s team and the Original Americans Foundation (OAF), a non-profit formed by Snyder for his outreach efforts with Native American tribes.

The documents state Lafferty allegedly accepted a Robert Griffin III-signed football and allowed the team to pay for her trip to Washington to see the Sept. 25, 2014 game against the Giants without telling tribal leaders.
Paiute Tribal Leader Faces Impeachment For Taking Redskins Gifts

By Dave McKennaThe gifts, the council wrote, "could be considered bribery."

After the trip, Lafferty supported a deal with OAF to provide at least two vans to the tribe, as the debate over whether to cooperate with Snyder's foundation raged throughout Indian Country.

The Paiute tribe is small—in an interview last fall, Lafferty estimated there were "around 900-plus members" divided up in five sub-tribes, called "bands"—and located in remote areas of Utah. But the tribe looms large in Snyder's life in recent years. Among its members is Phillip Gover, one of the five plaintiffs in Blackhorse v. Pro Football Inc., the lawsuit seeking to have Snyder's "Redskins" trademarks canceled by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. (Pro Football Inc. is the corporate name of the Washington Redskins.)

A day later, Lafferty was impeached:

Utah Tribe Impeaches Chairwoman For Taking Redskins Bribe

By Dave McKennaThe full statement:

The Tribal Council of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah has unanimously voted to remove Gari Pikyavit Lafferty as chairwoman, because of actions that include taking personal gifts for herself and her family without council approval, and failing to act upon council direction.

“The role of a tribal official is to act to make the tribe better, but the actions of Gari Lafferty since she took office have served neither the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah nor its elected council,” said Vice Chairwoman Jeanine Borchardt. “Gari Lafferty’s actions served only her self-interest. We are deeply saddened in taking this action.”
Comment:  For more on Redskins OAF, see Navajo President Sits with Snyder and Redskins OAF Seeks Zuni Art.

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