Tribal speaker accused of theft

First Posted: 8/23/2013

PEMBROKE — The speaker of the Lumbee Tribal Council is being accused of illegally taking financial documents from the Tribal Complex office on Thursday.

The documents, according to a statement from tribal administrators, were being processed to be handed over to the Tribal Council under a court agreement reached recently between the tribe’s administration and council when they were allegedly taken. The speaker, Pearlean Revels, refused to comment to a reporter this morning.

A police officer from the Pembroke Police Department was called to take a report and two employees filed an official complaint, according to tribal spokesman Mark Locklear. The Robesonian this morning spoke briefly with Pembroke Police Chief Grant Florita, but he said he didn’t want to comment on details until he had a chance to view the report.

Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks said in a statement that several tribal employees were present when Revels took the General Ledger from the building. He said she visited the Finance Office at 3:30 p.m. and was accompanied by Terry Campbell, a member of the tribe’s 21-member Tribal Council.

Revels and Campbell left the Finance Office and returned a short time later to retrieve car keys Revels had left in the office, Brooks said. According to the statement, Revels was captured on security cameras grabbing more than 2,000 pages of financial records and leaving the building with Campbell at 4:15 p.m. The statement did not accused Campbell of any wrongdoing.

“I’m not saying anything,” Revels told a reporter this morning.

Revels, who is up for re-election to her District 3 council seat in November, has been a leader among council members who aggressively pursued the financial records from the administration that they contend are necessary for them to perform their constitutional responsibility of financial oversight. The council and Brooks recently signed an agreement requiring Brooks to hand over to the council certain financial records, including the General Ledger, by Aug. 30.

This is the second time in less than a year that Revels has been accused of an illegal act. Late last year, at the height of a heated election for tribal chairman, Revels was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, her car, by a person who said she almost ran him off the road while he was distributing political material.

Revels contended that the incident was politically motivated. Both sides in the dispute eventually agreed to drop charges in the case.