Tribal speaker takes chairman to court

By: Staff report

LUMBERTON — The chairman of the Lumbee tribe will stand Monday before the tribe’s Supreme Court accused of violating the tribe’s constitution.

In the case that will be heard at 6 p.m. in the tribal administration building, at 6984 N.C. 711 in Pembroke, Harvey Godwin Jr. is accused of violating the constitution twice and violating tribal ordinances on five occasions, according to a copy of the legal petition obtained by The Robesonian. The petitioner is listed as Anita H. Blanks, who is speaker of the Tribal Council.

Godwin is accused of violating the constitution when he adopted on Nov. 1, FY 2018 Continuing Resolution, pertaining to the tribe’s 2017-18 budget, as an executive order. Blanks claims in her petition that the executive order gave the tribe’s executive branch legislative authority to budget funds.

The second claim of violating the constitution pertains to actions at a tribal Finance Committee meeting. According to the petition, a proposed amendment to the 2016-17 budget not previously presented by the executive branch was challenged as unconstitutional. The executive branch’s action was the subject of “previous litigation” that caused “a violation of the constitutional authority of the Legislative Branch.”

According to the petition, the ordinance violations relate to:

— Financial statements not being given to the Finance Committee in the time frame dictated by the relevant tribal ordinance.

— The sale of a two tribal properties in January 2017.

— Failure to report the receipt of the money from the sale of the two properties to the Tribal Council.

— Inaccuracies in monthly revenues and expenses reported to the Tribal Council.

— Not using a proper payment schedule to pay out $26,538.44 in regard to budget line item Client Relations Coordinator.

Staff report