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Leech Lake Band to investigate unauthorized disbursement of funds

On Monday the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe retained former U.S. Attorney David Lillehaug, of the Minneapolis law firm of Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., to conduct an investigation into the disbursement of approximately $2.4 million of funds received by the Band from a pipeline company. The decision to retain outside counsel was made at a meeting of the Band's Tribal Council on Friday, Sept. 24.

Chairman Arthur "Archie" LaRose said in a press release: "We have information that some of the funds from the Enbridge pipeline payment have been used in ways not authorized by the Tribal Council. The Band has appointed Mr. Lillehaug to gather the facts and advise the Council. We have also requested a federal investigation.

"If we find that funds have been misapplied or diverted, the Band will take strong and swift legal action to recover them. I am personally committed to open, honest, transparent tribal government, and full financial accountability to Band members."

Further information will be released by the Band as Lillehaug's investigation progresses and the facts become clear. According to Lillehaug, he expects that he will render an interim report to the Tribal Council in about a month. A comprehensive report will be made when the investigation is fully complete.