Tahlequah Daily Press

Breaking News

May 6, 2013

Cherokee Nation AG takes leave due to alcohol issues

TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree has been granted a leave of absence to seek treatment for alcohol dependence.

According to documents received by the Daily Press, Deputy AG Nason Morton will lead the office during Hembree’s absence.

“As you know, alcoholism has been the scourge of Indian Country for generations, and no one – regardless of education, position or faith – is immune,” wrote Hembree in a letter to CN Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “The support of my wife, children, extended family and staff make it possible for me to tell the Cherokee people that I struggle with this difficult disease.”

According to a statement by Baker, Hembree’s dependency has had an effect on tribal employees. He confirmed Hembree requested and received a leave of absence.

“The use of alcohol not only affects that person, but it impacts the lives of their family, friends and loved ones,” said Baker in the statement. “In the case of a public official, it affects the people he or she may serve, and sometimes, colleagues. Late last week, I learned of Todd’s alcohol dependency and the effects it has had on some employees. I met with those employees and expressed my sadness and displeasure for the pain he caused them and let them know I don’t condone his actions.”

CN Marshal Shannon Buhl indicated he’d been contacted by Baker to investigate the allegations against Hembree.

“Principal Chief Bill John Baker notified me last week of certain text messages sent by Attorney General Todd Hembree,” wrote Buhl in a statement. “We immediately conducted an investigation, and while the messages are troubling, I have found no violation of tribal code.”

Buhl said to protect the confidentiality of the parties involved, the details of the investigation will not be released.

Baker said while Hembree and his family remain in the administration’s thoughts and prayers, his first priority is maintaining a cohesive work environment.

“My duty as principal chief is to uphold the Cherokee Nation Constitution and the integrity of our government and serve the people to the best of my ability,” said Baker. “Paramount to me is ensuring our employees have  a safe and professional workplace.”

1
Text Only
Breaking News
Poll

Do you believe marijuana should be legalized in Oklahoma?

Absolutely not.
No, but it should be decriminalized.
Yes, but only for medicinal purposes.
Yes, both for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong
Stocks