Members of the Fort McMurray #468 First Nation are being sued by a fellow councillor.
Samantha Whalen is suing Chief Ronald Alfred Kreutzer, Coun. Ronald Allen Kreutzer, former Coun. Byron Bates, and CEO of the FMFM Brad Callihoo for allegedly misusing funds given to them by the federal government.
Back in 1998, the First Nation filed a claim stating Canada’s top government failed to provide ‘agricultural benefits that were promised under Treaty 8.’ In 2017, they would receive a settlement of over $34 million.
More than $15 million of the settlement would be distributed to their 805 members, $593,000 for legal costs, $8 million in a community trust, with the remaining $10.4 million being put in a settlement trust.
According to the statement of claim, there was around $1.4 million left after the distribution of funds to the community because of some ‘unidentified members.’
It also notes that Callihoo delivered an invoice to the FMFN council for $600,000. It’s believed Chief Kreutzer, Councillor Kreutzer, and ex-councillor Bates approved the request.
The funds were allegedly taken from the remaining $1.4 million, which was supposed to be given to their remaining members. The funds were requested for a company – known as 2050787 Alberta Ltd.
“Callihoo receives a substantial salary from the FMFN for his role as CEO and his employment contract contains no provision for a bonus, commision or other type of payment in the nature of the $600,000 payment,” the statement read.
The lawsuit alleges that all the defendants shared the money and ‘used it for their own benefit.’
It goes on to say that Bates was given the job and a salary from the FMFN after Whalen defeated him in June’s election.
Whalen, who was elected as a Councillor on June 8, says she was given access to the First Nations financial records and noticed the $600,000 payment. She says, in the statement, that when she asked Chief Kreutzer about it she was told to “shut up and stop digging around to cause trouble.”
While viewing the financial records, Whalen claims she also found other irregularities such as Chiek Kreutzer using $76,000 of community funds to by a new vehicle, contributions to both Kreutzer’s families, and around $500,000 worth of credit card debt for Callihoo being paid off by the FMFN.
The statement would go on to say that the defendants obstructed Whalen’s job as a Councillor by restricting her access to these records and stopping her from receiving her annual salary.
The lawsuit requests that the $600,000 be returned to the community, Chief Kreutzer pay for his vehicle, and an additional $100,000 be paid for punitive damages.
Mix News reached out to Fort McMurray #468 First Nation but didn’t receive a response.