By TEDDYE SNELL
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma Treasurer Ella Mae Worley recently filed impeachment charges against three of the tribes officers, including Chief George Wickliffe, Assistant Chief Charles Locust and Secretary Joyce Fourkiller-Hawk.
Worley said the action was prompted, in part, by the fact the administration has also sought her impeachment.
Worley believes the defendants filed impeachment charges against her in August in retaliation for filing a lawsuit in tribal court in February after being locked out of tribal and casino financial records by vote of the council.
Wickliffe, Locust and Hawk, along with their attorney, Christina Vaughan, who also serves as the tribe’s attorney general, filed delay after delay in Worley’s impeachment case.
Finally, on Aug. 16, the trio requested a motion to stay, asking the judge for another delay while they sought to make a case for treasurer nonfeasance, making impeachment moot.
In the articles of impeachment, Worley asserts Wickliffe has abused his office by allowing a personal loans be made from tribal funds for himself, his friends and Locust.
She also asserts Locust approved the theft of UKB funds in the form of a personal loan to Two Feathers Enterprises LLC without prior approval from the council.
Charges being leveled against Hawk include malfeasance, corruption and abuse of office by removing UKB property from UKB storage units for her own personal use.
“It’s not about me, it’s about protecting the UKB Constitution, wherein it states that the treasurer shall be the custodian of all funds from any source,” said Worley.
“I want to see this rectified for any treasurers who come after me.”
UKB citizen Anile Locust said she and about 50 other citizens attended last Saturday’s tribal council meeting. Locust offered comments and Wickliffe tried to have her removed from the meeting by Lighthorse security.
“He said, ‘Lighthorse, take her out!’ and the Lighthorse guards just stood there, refusing to do anything,” said Anile Locust. “Chief ended up allowing me to stay.”
The UKB was recently forced to shutter its casino after failing to place the land upon which the business sits into federal trust.
The day of its closing, dozens of UKB citizens protested the tribe’s administration, many of whom called for impeachment of the chief and deputy chief.
Calls made to Vaughn, the tribe’s attorney general, were unreturned by press time.