Elections & Consequences

The Oneida Tribe’s 2013 Special Election will be held Saturday July 6, 2013 from 7am to 7pm at the Oneida Health Center, 525 Airport Dr, Oneida, WI. (See page 11B of the June 13, 2013 Kalihwisaks).

The ballot lists a position on the Gaming Commission with current Vice-Chairperson Amelia Cornelius running as the incumbent against Mark A. Powless, Sr.; Barbara (Jordan) Doyen Erickson; Matthew W. Denny; and Stephanie Metoxen.

Oneida Eye has presented information demonstrating that that Amelia Cornelius has not shown adequate leadership in her role as Gaming Vice-Chairperson (especially with regard to the lack of accountability for the corporate shenanigans of the Gaming Commission attorney, William Cornelius) nor as Chairperson of the Land Commission, which is underscored by the recent sudden resignation of Fred Muscavitch who was Director of the Division of Land Management (DOLM).

According to Oneida Tribal Treasurer Tina Danforth (page 6B of the June 13, 2013 Kalihwisaks), this unexpected departure occurred in the wake of the approval of an ongoing external audit which has so far uncovered questionable uses of Tribal funds and property management decisions. Five Oneida Business Committee members voted to suspend all land acquisition purchases until the audit is complete.

Treas. Danforth states that among the “many reasons” for this are

…farm land is purchased and not developed, homes are purchased and torn down, the quality of some of the homes is questionable and there appears to be no relevance to long range plans based on housing needs.

Treas. Danforth also notes that, regarding open houses for properties she has attended,

…some of the worst ones are the homes offered through our DREAM [Direct Real Estate and Mortgage] program.

Treas. Danforth then asks,

With this in mind who is responsible for choosing the homes we purchase? Is it DOLM or the Land Commission?

It seems odd that the Tribal Treasurer wouldn’t know the answer to that question, and it goes to show how difficult it is for General Tribal Council members less versed in the structure of Tribal Government and the details of departmental policies to know where the buck stops.

Yet it seems obvious that, in this case, Amelia Cornelius as the Chairperson of the Land Commission should have been aware of and dealt with this problem long ago, though perhaps the poor decisions and unwise choices were at her direction if not merely with her approval.

Land Commission Chair Cornelius has shown a laxity toward common sense propriety with regard to her elected position. For example, she acted as Chairperson at the January 28, 2013 Land Commission Public Hearing regarding the requests by Oneida Seven Generations Corporation for a rezoning of the Oneida Business Park to an ‘industrial’ zone as well as for a Conditional Use Permit to construct a plastics incinerator in that sensitive wetlands area. Amelia should have recused herself for the simple reason that her son, Kevin Cornelius, is the CEO of OSGC.

When that fact was made public by the media Amelia did recuse herself from voting on the matter only to be replaced by the mother of OSGC’s trucking vendor. Even more suspect is that the Land Commission approved OSGC’s requests on February 13, 2013 only for OSGC to acknowledge that same month that the location was inappropriate for their project.

The conflicts of interest regarding Amelia Cornelius and Atty. William Cornelius and OSGC and its subsidiaries are glaring. It should be clear that it is not in the best interests of the Oneida Tribe for Amelia Cornelius to be reelected to the Gaming Commission, though Oneida Eye is not endorsing any other candidates until they answer some very basic and reasonable questions:

Any candidates for the Gaming Commission are encouraged to contact Oneida Eye with their answers to these questions.

 


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