The ink was barely dry on the ballots when a federal court judge was asked to throw out the results of the Thursday night band council election at Roseau River.
Chief Alfred Hayden, who didn’t seek re-election, went to court earlier this month to have a judge veto the electoral officer, arguing she had violated or wasn’t upholding, some of the election rules.
On March 7 that federal court judge granted the request and named a new electoral officer for the March 9 election.
The community rejected Burke Ratte, an electoral officer for-hire from the Peguis First Nation and went ahead with the original officer at the helm.
In a vote last night, newcomer Craig Alexander was declared chief along with councillors Gary Roberts, Rachel Seenie, June Thomas and Ken Henry.
A judge was considering whether to deem the election void and order a new one with the court-appointed electoral officer under police escort at deadline.
Many council hopefuls who were elected last night, campaigned on the promise to rid Roseau of a controversial gas bar deal that’s been ongoing for a decade on the community’s $2.1-million urban reserve just outside of Winnipeg.
Businessman David Doer signed over ownership of the physical gas station building to Roseau after a land designation process failed, making the land unleasable. But as APTN Investigates reported he continues to profit from a lucrative management agreement the previous chief and council signed.
In exchange, he pays Roseau River $10 a year to manage the gas station, sometimes many band members are upset about.
The business was also part of an APTN hidden camera investigation that revealed the gas bar was surreptitiously using status card numbers of some customers to sell tax-exempt gas and cigarettes to other non-status customers.
An employee explained cashiers are given lists of random status card numbers to use.
APTN Investigates obtained photographs of two of these lists at a till. As the numbers are used, they’re crossed off, the employee explained. That way Manitoba Finance isn’t suspicious of the same number being used too many times for tax-exemption. Such a practice would increase the tobacco rebate the Manitoba government issues to Roseau each month, which Roseau shares with the gas bar manager 50-50.
Doer denied the practice happens and said employees are fired for any misuse of status cards. He declined an interview on the subject of his gas bar.