What’s Amelia Cornelius’ Agenda?

On the Business Committee’s agendas for the Tuesday Sept. 24 BC Executive Meeting and the Wednesday Sept. 25 BC Regular Meeting is an item sponsored by Oneida Land Commission Chair Amelia Cornelius:

Reconsider BC 05-08-13 directive regarding land acquisition funds; Sponsor: Amelia Cornelius, Land Commission, Chairwoman

That May 8, 2013 BC directive is as follows:

4. Approve Division of Land Management external audit request, Sponsor: David Jordan

Motion by Tina Danforth to approve retention of an external audit firm to address issues of Land Office and Land Commission, the audit shall be managed by the audit department and findings, if any reported to the audit committee, funding for the audit shall be provided by the Land Office budget and the immediate suspension of all land acquisition commence immediately, resumption of land acquisition shall not be permitted until completion of the audit with satisfactory responses for the parties audited, seconded by Vince DelaRosa. Motion carried with two opposed.

Ayes: Melinda J. Danforth, Tina Danforth, Vince DelaRosa, Greg Matson, David Jordan

Opposed: Patty Hoeft, Paul Ninham

Not present: Brandon Stevens

For the record: Greg Matson stated to make sure that none of those properties that have earnest money applied get interrupted with this stop on purchase.

It would seem that this directive was related to Division of Land Management Attorney Becky Webster and former Division Director Fred Muscavitch filing a faulty application with the BIA and thereby failing to gain Trust status for 3,000 acres which cost the Tribe nearly one million dollars in taxes that went to fund Hobart and other towns.

The directive to halt all land purchases was made almost four months before the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported the following:

So over the last 6 months $2 million dollars in unnecessary taxes have been paid by the Oneida Tribe under Amelia Cornelius’ watch, yet Amelia wants to be able to keep spending more and more despite the Tribal Treasurer having stated the following in the June 13, Kalihwisaks regarding the Land Division & Commission:

…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 noted 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 asked,

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

Supposedly the exception is being sought regarding the purchase of five acres of land contiguous to the Oneida Casino property as part of the General Tribal Council approved ‘2033 Land Acquisition Plan‘ (GTC Resolution 09-18-10-A), but who can GTC really trust to determine if the quality of the land near the sludge lagoons is worth as much as whatever the asking price is?

Has an environmental assessment been done regarding the property in question, and isn’t the fact that Environmental Division Director Pat Pelky is currently the interim Land Division Director following the departure of Fred Muscavitch a conflict of interest?

What is the plan for the development of those five acres and how can the Tribe afford it if the Tribal budget is as tight and shrinking as the Business Committee keeps telling GTC it is?

Amelia Cornelius was recently voted off the Gaming Commission by GTC in the last special election.

The question is whether GTC will have to wait until another election to have Amelia Cornelius removed from the Land Commission.

Until then, the Business Committee’s May 8, 2013 directive against any further land purchases should stand.


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September 2013
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