By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
A Manitoba chiefs organization is in “chaos” as it deals with allegations its grand chief spent a large amount of the organization’s money at a casino, while at the same time its chief of staff is facing a sexual harassment complaint filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Southern Chiefs Organization Grand Chief Murray Clearsky, however, says the issues are all “internal stuff,” fueled by disgruntled former staff members who have been let go.
“I have nothing to hide. If I was stealing it would be different. Why would I steal money? Especially from an organization I work for?” said Clearsky. “I had authorization to go ahead. Some of the staff are pissed off at me and (chief of staff) Mike Bear so of course, ‘I will bring you down.'”
Clearsky is facing allegations he withdrew about $10,000 in Shakopee, Minn, and Prior Lake Minn., from the organization’s bank account on Sept. 17 and Sept. 18. It’s alleged some of the money was used in a casino there.
Two withdrawals on Sept. 17 totalling a little over $1,000 came from an ATM at the Little Six Bingo ATM in Prior Lake, Minn., based on cross referencing information on snap shots provided of the SCO’s account statement to APTN National News.
The account statement also shows a withdrawal of $311 from a convenience store less than a minute’s drive from the Mystic Lake Hotel Casino in Prior Lake, Minn. along with seven withdrawals of $831 from an ATM in Shakopee, Minn, which sits about 15 km to the northwest.
Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches said he believes the Shakopee withdrawals were incurred at another casino there.
“I have seen records where huge amounts of funds were withdrawn from an ATM machine a Shakopee casino outside of Minneapolis,” said Meeches, who is on the chiefs’ executive that oversees the SCO, which represents 33 Manitoba First Nations.
Clearsky said he withdrew the money to fix his truck which broke down when he was in the area.
“Those were the closest machines where I was at the time,” he said. “I had a camper set up down there, those were the closest ones where my truck broke down and I got invoices.”
Clearsky also confirmed that his chief of staff Mike Bear is facing a sexual harassment complaint filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. He said he has responded to a letter he received from the commission, but he wouldn’t comment on its content.
“I can’t tell you that part, it is human rights,” he said.
Bear could not be reached for comment.
APTN National News has obtained the complaint and the letter sent to Clearsky by the commission.
Meeches said Clearsky should face a recall based on the totality of the allegations his organization faces.
“I believe them to be true and action needs to be taken forthwith,” said Meeches. “It just doesn’t make sense when you see the transaction record. There is a situation at the office itself. Staff are being intimidated and there is bullying…I am going to support and ask for his resignation.”
Clearsky had a warning for Meeches.
“Chief Meeches should also watch what he is saying, he is no angel himself,” said Clearsky.
Clearsky said he is meeting with his lawyer on Monday and the with the chiefs’ executive sometime next week. He said he will also reveal more information to the media about the allegations.
“It’s internal, some of the people were let go and they are gone, now they come up with all kinds of BS,” he said.