Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Would You Trust this Man with $600 Million Part 2

Yesterday we talked about Bill John Baker’s new pick to assist the best CPA in Vian, Lacey Horn. The Cherokee Nation now has some help from another Sequoyah County CPA, Jody Reece-- who just happened to be in charge of either the finance department & grants administration in the 1990s when the Nation got busted for not auditing its own books, for using federal program funds illegally, and using tens of millions of dollars improperly. The details are in yesterday’s blog, and you will find the list is very long and very embarrassing for the Nation.

How embarrassing? Well, the result way back when of all the financial shenanigans during the Byrd/Baker/Reece era was that the Cherokee Nation wasn’t trusted with its own money and had to be put on an allowance, like a third grader.

According to the Tulsa World, because the Nation was in such bad financial shape and the feds had “substantial concerns about the tribe’s financial systems” so they gave the money to the nation “month-by-month until the tribe restores its financial credibility…”

That made Cherokee Nation officials upset at the time.  The Tulsa World quotes one as saying: “While it’s embarrassing and uncomfortable for us to have lost credibility by having weaknesses pointed out everywhere, we’ve got a plan in hand,” said the tribe’s executive director of finance and administration in a November 6, 1998 interview with the paper.

So who said that he was so embarrassed about what happened either under his own watch as the top finance guy or the controller, Jody Reece, who moved over to administer grants, which then somehow got used for purposes they weren’t supposed to be?

None other than Charles Head. Remember him? He was recently appointed by Baker to be the new Secretary of State for the Cherokee Nation.  Head and Reese were in charge of the Cherokee Nation’s finances during the worst financial crisis in the history of the Cherokee Nation.  And now Baker has brought them both back.

Justice Darrell Dowty (left) administers the oath of office to the newly confirmed Secretary of State Charles Head while Frances Head looks on.
Photo Courtesy Cherokee Nation