Tahlequah Daily Press

January 25, 2013

UKB official sues, says access has been denied

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Ella Mae Worley, recently re-elected treasurer for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, has filed suit against key members of the tribe’s administration, claiming she has been denied access to information she requires to carry out her duties.

Defendants named in the suit include UKB Chief George Wickliffe, Assistant Chief Charles Locust, Comptroller Samuel Younger, Attorney General Ken Bellmard, Executive Director of Tribal Operations Tim Goodvoice, and the tribal council.

Under the UKB Constitution, as treasurer, one of Worley’s specific duties is to be “the custodian of all funds in the possession of the council from any source,” and “shall keep an accurate record of all such funds and shall disburse the same in accordance with the vote of the council.”

In the court document, filed Jan. 15, Worley asserts the defendants have prohibited her from fulfilling her role as treasurer by denying her access to all of the tribe’s bank accounts and records of funds.

She asking the court to declare the UKB Tribal Council “is legally in possession of all the band’s funds, including but not limited to the band’s casino funds,” and that the defendants be prevented from hindering Worley’s access to bank accounts or other financial records, as well as legally granting Worley access to bank accounts and financial records.

Bellmard said the tribe does not comment on pending litigation.

According to Worley’s attorney, a court date for a hearing has not been set yet, as the petition was just recently filed.