Lawyers, Liars & Sonny Boy Delgado

The federal government shutdown has ended, at least temporarily, but the Oneida Tribe is keeping the Emergency Furlough Policy and Cost Containment measures in place until the availability of federal funds for Tribal programs is more certain.

It must be frustrating, disheartening, and angering for Tribe members who can’t get a job with the Tribe due to the hiring freeze, or are told they must take a furlough they can’t appeal, or, worse, have their employment terminated without cause – even though their position was budgeted for through 2014 – when they know that Tribal Chairperson Ed Delgado is allowing Chief Counsel Jo Anne House to keep her job even though she improperly hired Layatalati ‘Lati’ Hill as a Tribal Staff Attorney despite the fact he doesn’t have a law license yet falsely advertises otherwise via his LinkedIn page which is, as Oneida Eye has reported, a violation of Wisconsin State Law:

Being an attorney is a job that requires a license which indicates competency, but it’s supposed to be founded on a person’s upstanding character, integrity, and – most of all – honesty. The same is true of Lati Hill’s previous job as a life insurance agent for Banker’s Life & Casualty. What life insurance company would want to hire him now that he’s on the record as falsely claiming that he’s an attorney?

Tribal Chairperson Ed Delgado and the rest of the Business Committee have been informed that the details of Lati Hill’s false and illegal advertised claims of being an ‘Attorney at Law’ and a ‘Staff Attorney’ for the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin have been forwarded to Wisconsin Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen, Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie A. Schneider, Brown County District Attorney David L. Lasee, Office of Lawyer Regulation Director Keith Sellen, and Senator Ron Johnson.

At a Business Committee meeting earlier this year, Oneida Self-Governance Coordinator Chris Johns explained to the Business Committee that the federal government is now free to be selective about how much they give to which tribes and therefore more lobbying would be needed just to maintain the level of funding the Tribe was receiving at that time.

How eager do you think politicians who are looking for reasons to cut budgets and services are going to be to accede to requests by a tribe whose notion of self-governance is the Chairperson having no problem with the Chief Counsel conspiring with other Tribe members employed by the Oneida Law Office to openly encourage breaking the law?

People who have spoken to Chairperson Delgado (or should we say ‘Sonny Boy’ as Jo Anne House prefers to call him to his face) say that Delgado is fully aware that the Chief Counsel hired Lati Hill as a Staff Attorney even though Hill cannot legally practice law in the State of Wisconsin (or anywhere it seems) because Delgado acknowledged that Hill isn’t scheduled to take the State Bar exam until February.

Apparently Sonny Boy Delgado needs to be reminded that the Oneida Tribe’s Code of Ethics states:

3-3.3 The following shall govern the interaction between government officials and their constituents, co-officials, and employees:

(b) A government official should respect and comply with the law and tradition of the Tribe and should at all times act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the honesty and impartiality of government officials, including, but not limited to:

(1) influence of family, social or other personal relationships influencing conduct
(2) using prestige of the office to advance private interests of others
(3) conveying use of special influence or being specially influenced.

(c) A government official should use the following standards in relation to the duties of office

(1) adhere to the laws, customs, and traditions of the Tribe

Is condoning lying and lawbreaking a Tribal custom or tradition?

What other than being “specially influenced” by Jo Anne House, or possibly Lati Hill’s family, could explain why Delgado would agree to betray the Code of Ethics and the Oneida people by allowing the Chief Counsel to advance Lati Hill’s private interests?

The Code of Ethics goes on to say:

3.3-4. Administrative responsibilities include, but are not limited to, work product and conduct of staff as set out herein

(b) require staff to observe high standards of honesty and diligence
(c) initiate appropriate disciplinary measures against professional staff for unprofessional conduct which the official may become aware of.

It is Oneida Eye’s understanding that the Chief Counsel is a subordinate to the Chairperson and serves at the pleasure of the Chairperson, and therefore the Chief Counsel can – and should – be dismissed by the Chairperson for engaging in or encouraging among the Oneida Law Office staff any dishonest, unethical or illegal conduct, and the Chief Counsel should likewise dismiss any Oneida Law Office Staff that she knows to be in violation of the law, as laid out in the ‘Program’ section of the Code of Ethics:

3.4-4. Program personnel shall demonstrate the highest possible standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, honesty and fortitude in all public activities in order to inspire public confidence and trust in public institutions, including, but not limited to

(a) dedication to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships
(b) affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by the government and maintain constructive, creative, and practical attitude toward community affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant.

3.4-5. Program personnel will avoid any interest or activity that is in conflict with the conduct of official duties, including, but not limited to

(a) entering into any activity which may be in conflict with the interest of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, or which would prejudice the ability to carry out objectively their duties and responsibilities
(b) eliminating all forms of illegal discrimination, fraud, and mismanagement of public funds, and support colleagues if they are in difficulty because of responsible efforts to correct such discrimination, fraud, mismanagement or abuse

Based on that it’s difficult to argue that it’s not an egregious violation of the Code of Ethics worthy of a Removal Petition for Chairperson Delgado to refuse to hold Chief Counsel Jo Anne House accountable for encouraging Lati Hill to flagrantly violate the law by fraudulently claiming to be an ‘Attorney at Law’ and a ‘Staff Attorney.’

Several Oneidas have told Oneida Eye that they signed or considered supporting Brian Doxtator’s failed attempt at a Removal Petition against the Chairperson not for the reasons Brian listed but solely due to the fact that Delgado doesn’t sufficiently stand up for the people by defending them from those like Chief Counsel House and others over whom he has authority who abuse their Tribal positions.

Here’s the problem with trying to pass a Removal Petition against Chairperson Delgado:

The majority of people who signed Brian Doxtator’s baseless revenge petition against Ed Delgado (including Lati Hill) will likely not sign another one on the basis that Ed Delgado isn’t holding Jo Anne House accountable for improperly hiring Lati Hill as a Staff Attorney without a law license, because that’s the type of violation of the Code of Ethics that those hypocrites fully support.

Many of those who would agree that Delgado not holding House accountable for hiring Lati Hill as a Staff Attorney without a law license is an actionable violation of the Code of Ethics know that there’s nobody on the current Oneida Business Committee likely to replace Ed who is any more ethical than he, and some are outright unethical.

In fact, the Oneida Business Committee voted to “retro-approve” Chief Counsel House’s hiring of Lati Hill as a ‘Staff Attorney’ despite the fact that in doing so Jo Anne House violated the Tribe’s Attorney Contract Policy posted on the Tribe’s website:

Article VI. Contract Approval 

6-4. Chief Counsel completes negotiation of contract contents and forwards final approval to the Oneida Business Committee. Provided that, prior to final approval, professional qualifications are verified by the Oneida Law Office through receipt of confirmation of good stating, at a minimum, with the State Bar of Wisconsin through a copy of the annual bar card or original letter of good standing.

There are other reasons, though, to reconsider Chairperson Delgado’s fitness for office. Namely, recent events which suggest there’s a possibility he may be experiencing early symptoms of dementia.

The Bullets:
After requesting and receiving a restraining order against Dale Wheelock following Dale’s dismissal from the Oneida Housing Authority, Chairperson Delgado purchased a gun for personal protection. After being chided by associates for not having purchased ammunition for the weapon, Chairperson Delgado did buy bullets, but forgot them in the armrest compartment of the Tribal vehicle he used for his shopping expedition where they were found later by Tribal staff. Despite concerns he may have violated policies against transporting weapons in Tribal vehicles, it was later determined that ammunition on its own does not officially qualify as a ‘weapon.’

The Motorcycle:
Ed Delgado recently purchased a motorcycle as a birthday present for himself but continually forgot to add oil resulting in the engine burning out and the bike becoming unusable until repaired.

The Motion:
Oneida Eye was of the opinion that Chairperson Delgado intentionally refused to acknowledge a motion which he was informed was intended to be made at the September 21, 2013 General Tribal Council Meeting and which was being made when Delgado instead recognized a motion to adjourn by the sex-offender brother of Oneida Seven Generations Corporation’s current CEO & CFO Bruce King, but perhaps Chairperson Delgado honestly forgot something he was informed of just a few minutes earlier.

The Roundabout:
Tribe members have said they witnessed Ed Delgado drive a Tribal vehicle onto the roundabout island on Hwy 54 near the Norbert Hill Center. When asked if this incident may have been a matter of low blood-sugar, sources close to the Chairperson insisted that he simply “forgot” that the four-way stop had been replaced by a roundabout. Imagine if the incident had resulted in an accident with another vehicle or a school bus. Chairperson Delgado has denied the incident occurred despite witnesses. Maybe he’s forgotten that it happened.

Though concerned about the Chairperson’s recent behavior, Oneida Eye believes there is a better way than a Removal Petition to proceed regarding Jo Anne House’s hiring of a non-licensed Tribe member as a Staff Attorney which we will outline in a future post.

Until then, Oneida Tribe members who care about the reputation of the Tribe must insist that – if Ed Delgado is still competent enough to do the job he was elected for, and given that he has the authority whether he believes it or feels comfortable with it or not – the Chairperson needs to dismiss Chief Counsel Jo Anne House because she hired Lati Hill as a Staff Attorney when she knew he did not have a license to practice law in Wisconsin, or – just like the Oneida Business Committee members who on October 9, 2013 voted to retro-approve Jo Anne House’s hiring of Lati Hill as a Staff Attorney knowing he did not have a law license – Delgado must be understood as approving Lati Hill’s violation of Wisconsin State Statute 757.30.

Ed Delgado’s campaign promise when he ran for Tribal Chairperson was that he was ‘For The People.’

The question now is: Which people?

The Oneida Law Office Chief Counsel who suborns violation of Wisconsin state laws regarding State Bar licensing by her staff and has the nerve to ridiculously try to justify it by falsely claiming that ‘sovereign immunity’ somehow trumps Wisconsin State Statute 757.30, ‘Penalty for practicing without license’?

Or the 24-years Tribal employee who was discarded to make way for Lati Hill despite the fact that the General Tribal Council passed a motion that same employee made at the September 21, 2013 GTC Meeting that there be no layoffs of Tribe members if their positions were budgeted for in the 2013-2014 budget that GTC approved?

What about the 20+ Oneidas who applied for the job when it was posted and never imagined they’d be denied employment so that the Chief Counsel could hire someone lacking the most basic qualification of the position he was hand-picked for?

An ethical leader would hold Jo Anne House accountable.

Sonny Boy Delgado might be scared of her.

Or maybe he’s just losing it.

 


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