BILLINGS, Mont. — A recent federal audit of the Crow Tribe’s court system alleges mismanagement of federal funds, nepotism and the creation of a hostile work environment for a recently elected associate judge.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs told the tribe that its federal funding is in “high-risk status” and it will have to provide documentation before its expenses are reimbursed, The Billings Gazette reported Friday.
Crow Chief Judge Leroy Not Afraid said Wednesday that he viewed the 16-page report, but he declined to comment.
BIA Regional Director Darryl LaCounte submitted the report to the tribal chairman earlier this month.
The report noted that the tribal court spent nearly $45,000 in court funds on a 2016 Chevy Tahoe that could not be located and that Not Afraid approved a $21,000 severance payment to his wife, Sheila Not Afraid, an associate judge who was not re-elected.
The report says the new associate judge, Michelle Wilson, is being paid less than her predecessor and less than the current clerk of court.
Tribal Court Administrator Ginger Goes Ahead told the reviewers not to talk to Wilson and then “proceeded to make derogatory comments about the ethics of the newly elected judge,” the report said.
Auditors found that the court used both general and federal funds to increase judges’ salaries beyond limits established by tribal statutes. It also found that the court hired employees without background checks and paid temporary employees using funds not subject to tribal oversight.
Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com