U.S. District Court Denied Oneida Business Committee’s Motion For Contempt Against The Village Of Hobart; Did OBC Law Office Atty. Rebecca M. Webster Lie To Brown Co. & U.S. Courts About Tribal Land Ownership? OBC & OLO Continues To Keep General Tribal Council In The Dark; PLUS, Environmental Specialist Amy Spears’ Report Concedes Construction & Demolition Dumping Near Oneida Tribal Cemetery Was Illegal; ALSO, The OBC Declared An Urgent & Indefinite Moratorium Due To Standing Water Problems On The Recently Renamed ‘Oneida Sacred Burial Grounds’ [UPDATED]

Here’s a PDF of the latest in the long (and likely expensive) legal battle that began in 2010 between the Oneida Business Committee’s Law Office (OLO) and the Village of Hobart over who provably owns land parcels associated with a defunct railroad right-of-way:

U.S. District Chief Judge William C. Griesbach’s Order says:

The [Oneida] Tribe filed this action against the Village [of Hobart] seeking a declaration that land held in trust for the Tribe by the United States was not subject to charges imposed under the Village’s Stormwater Management Utility Ordinance that was enacted in coformity with the Clean Water Act. …

The Village…took the position that it did not have the documentation needed to verify that forty-two of the parcels claimed by the Tribe were in fact held in trust. The Village’s doubts over the Tribe’s claims arose as a result of the responses by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) to a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests the Village had made in an effort to verify those claims.

What the Village learned from the Secretary’s responses to its FOIA request was that the DOI did not acknowledge any interest in twenty of the forty-two parcels the Village had questioned.

Since at least August 13, 2001, and continuing thereafter up to the present time, the Tribe has been seeking a determination by the DOI that the railroad parcels were never allotted and have remained in trust for the Tribe. To this day, however, it has failed to obtain such a determination. The reason for the DOI’s reluctance to issue such a determination appears to be because none of the patents granted to tribal members for the land over which the railroad right-of-way extended contain language excluding it. Absent language in the patent excluding the portion of the land on which the right-of-way was located, it would seem to follow that the land was in fact allotted and thereby removed from trust. If that is the case, then it would remain subject to the village taxes and assessments.

On October 18, 2007, notwithstanding the absence of any determination by the DOI that the railroad parcels remained in trust and apparently without the knowledge of the DOI, the Tribe recorded with the Brown County Register of Deeds a document entitled “Affidavit of Easement Cancellation.” …The Affidavit lists the railoard parcels and instructs the Register of Deeds to update the Tract Index “to reflect the accurate title to this property as: United Stated [sic] of America in Trust for the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.” …The index was changed and now lists the United States of American as the title owner for each of the railroad parcels. …

Even if the [original] judgment had expressly incorporated the list of the parcels the Tribe claimed were in trust, I would not find the Village in contempt for failing to cancel the charges on all 148 parcels in light of the Tribe’s failure to disclose to the Village and the Court its unsuccessful efforts to obtain a [U.S. Dept. of the Interior] determination of its claim of trust ownership of the railroad parcels. The Village reasonably relied on the records maintained by the Brown County Register of Deeds which showed the railroad parcels held in trust by the United States did not agree with the Tribe’s claim of trust ownership. It would be manifestly unfair to hold that by failing to object the Village had waived its right to challenge the Tribe’s claim that the property was held in trust. And given the response to the [Freedom Of Information Act] requests, the Village also acted reasonably in requesting further documentation for other parcels with respect to which its documentation was lacking.

When Oneida Eye’s Publisher asked at the September 12, 2015 General Tribal Council Meeting who exactly working for the Tribe had filed a possibly false claim with the Brown County Register of Deeds about the certification of the Tribe’s ownership of – as well as the trust status of – the parcels, OBC OLO Attorney Rebecca Webster proudly said that she had personally made the claim to Brown Co. officials, and now it turns out that OBC OLO Attorney Becky Webster’s sworn claims about the parcels in question are not verified after all.

But, then again, Atty. Becky Webster and the rest of the OLO are simply accustomed to getting their way in Oneida commissions & courts which – more often than not – join the OLO behaving “manifestly unfair.

It doesn’t work that way in the real world, Becky.

(Better stick to forums where nepotism & cronyism with equally unethical Oneida kangaroos will help you ‘win.’)

 

From today’s Green Bay Press Gazette:

The court noted in its decision the Oneidas have not been able to show documentation proving the 20 parcels in question are federally recognized tribal land.

The dismissal is significant for Hobart because it acknowledges 20 of the abandoned railway parcels, which are owned by the Oneida Tribe, may not be considered tax-exempt, Village Administrator Andrew Vickers said.

The village has authority to collect taxes and fees, impose ordinances and set zoning restrictions on Oneida-owned land as long as it’s not federally-recognized tribal land.

“This allows us to start answering questions for the property owners along the abandoned railway about who rightfully (has jurisdiction over) the property,” Vickers said.

After [the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case], Hobart learned through a series of freedom of information act requests that the federal government does not have documentation showing the 20 parcels are tribal trust land.

The tribe would like to use the land to complete Duck Creek Trail, a crushed-stone trail that connects to the Newton Blackmour State Trail in Seymour and stops at Jason Drive in Oneida. When completed, the trail would connect to Pamperin Park in Green Bay.

Hobart supports the idea of using the land for a trail, but village leaders want control over its design and construction, Vickers said.

A final determination of who controls the land will likely require a judge’s ruling, Vickers said.

 

See our post:

 

 

The sad truth is, the Oneida Business Committee, the OBC Law Office, the Oneida Land Commission (OLC), and the Division of Land Management (DOLM) don’t even know how to properly respect & manage the land that OTIW actually does own and already is responsible for.

Exhibit A: The OBC approved illegally dumping Construction & Demolition waste near the Oneida Tribal Cemetery.

Which includes:

  • September 11, 2015 Report from Environmental Specialist Victoria Flowers to Environmental Area Mgr. Jeff Mears stating that “the action that led to the alleged [Construction & Demolition] waste [dumping near Oneida Tribal cemetery] is not actionable under [Tribal Environmental Response Program] due to the lack of evidence of a release of regulated or hazardous materials. The information reviewed and the evidence gathered, suggests that C&D waste was placed at this location.“;
  • September 24, 2015 Report from Environmental Specialist Amy Spears to Environmental Area Manager Jeff Mears concluding that “the action that led to the placement of the alleged [Construction & Demolition] waste is a violation of the Oneida Recycling and Solid Waste Disposal Law and was disposed of illegally

OOPSIE!! Bu-bu-but how could anyone have known better?

Was that C&D waste illegally dumped from the Oneida Casino renovation in 2014 about which Oneida Eye’s Publisher asked Oneida Conservation Dept.’s Terry Metoxen if it was appropriate for debris to be dump near the cemetery / wetlands area??

Was that C&D waste illegally dumped from the BP Hilltop demolition project which Oneida Eye’s Publisher contacted the EPA about to make sure that illegal dumping wouldn’t happen?

Oneida Eye’s Publisher also asked the OBC about possible illegal dumping at their August 17, 2015 Regular Meeting:, as we’ve reported:

The Highway 54 OneStop Casino is currently scheduled to shut down on September 20, and the last day of the Retail operations is scheuduled for September 29.

Demolition work and replacement of two underground storage tanks (UST) is slated to begin sometime in October . . . 

even though the Highway 54 OneStop Project Planning Team’s recommendation to delay that project until next Spring has been overruled by Who Knows?, and the OBC is now rushing to get OTIE’s contracts for demolition, underground storage tank removal & hazardous soil remediation going ASAP… despite these facts:

  • OTIE doesn’t have a final design nor a final guaranteed maximum cost;
      • Gaming staff were told at the beginning of August that the Hwy 54 OneStop would be shut down on AUGUST 17, but employees pushed back against that foolish plan (which had been promoted to management by Communications Director Bobbi Webster) because the Tribe had NOT even given any form of notice to the State of Wisconsin’s regulatory bodies about the closure of a gaming facility nor of a gas station;
        • (In fact, Kalihwisaks already had a big article ready to go to print that had to be cancelled and the newspaper’s layout re-edited at the last minute after gaming staff informed PR Dir. Bobbi Webster and Retail Div. Dir. Michele Doxtator that their plan to shut down the Hwy 54 OneStop on August 17 was impossible, which was the reason behind the delay in the publication of the August 6 Kalihwisaks in which there was still no mention of any plans to the community)
      • the EPA’s Region 5 Wisconsin Tribal UST Programs Lead Kevin Hill told Oneida Eye’s Publisher that he has said hasn’t heard from any official of the Oneida Tribe in months;
      • and the current plan as stated is to dump as much as two feet off the area’s surface termed ‘poor soil’ from the OneStop to “Oneida’s Adams Road site” next to the Oneida Tribal Cemetery, which is near the area designated as ‘Where The Water Birds Nest’ and a ceremonial sweatlodge in an environmentally sensitive wetlands area

as was explained along with other problems to the OBC at the August 17, 2015 OBC Regular Meeting by Oneida Eye Publisher Leah Dodge right before the OBC recklessly approved the contract with negligent OTIE anyway.

Click here for an MP3 excerpt of the detailed explanation to the OBC of the faulty contract with OTIE which the Finance Committee & the OBC approved, plus lame excuses by Tribal CFO Larry Barton (although he does admit that the canopy over the Hwy 54 OneStop gas pumps poses a danger to customers and their vehicles, and has stated that the building and the current UST’s are past the lifetime of safe use.)

How many more wasted millions will this new fustercluck by the OBC and the Finance Committee cost the General Tribal Council of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin?

 

So how much did it cost the Oneida Tribe for the Oneida Business Committee to allow Construction & Demolition debris to be illegally dumped by the Oneida Tribal Cemetery? Who got paid for the job?

AND how much more will it now cost the Oneida Tribe for the Oneida Business Committee to have not only have illegally dumped debris near the Oneida Tribal Cemetery hauled somewhere else by a professional company but also to remediate the area where waste was illegally dumped, when the OBC could have simply avoided approving those dumb decisions to dump C&D waste there in the first place?

 

As if that wasn’t bad enough…

Exhibit B: The Oneida Business Committee won’t just admit the OBC sited the Oneida Tribal Cemetery in an area prone to standing water which should have never been designated as a cemetery in the first place, but they’ve now been forced to place an moraturium on the area after spending money to try to remediate it.

Who could have ever imagined that parcels where the families who sold the land to the Tribe had to continuously remove water to grow anything, a place where water birds nest near an area suited for building a lake, would be a lousy place for the OBC to use as the Tribal cemetery?

See our previous posts:

 

On the other hand, the Oneida Land Commission (OLC) voted and passed OLC Resolution #05-11-15-J officially renaming the Oneida Tribal Cemetery from the Oneida language words meaning ‘Where They Put The Bodies’ to the new name, ‘Oneida Sacred Burial Grounds,‘ and OLC also approved a new sign for the new name.

Feel better now?

If the cemetery really is ‘sacred,’ does that make the moisture that has to be constantly drained from the area ‘Holy Water’?

It’s so ‘sacred’ that the OBC voted to allow the Hwy 54 OneStop Casino project waste to be dumped at 300 Block of W. Adam Dr., Hobart, WI, even after they had been warned in person in August, and then community members raised questions and concerns at Community Meetings about the demolition & reconstruction project with OTIW Environmental, Land Management, Planning, Development & Retail Divisions in September.

(Did Oneida Total Integrated Enterprises [OTIE] representatives attend those meetings?)

Finally, the OBC issued a Moratorium September 23, 2015, the day before Oneida Environmental Specialist Amy Spears’ Report stating that the construction & demolation waste near the cemetery had been dumped by the Tribe in violaiton of the Tribe’s laws.

How could all of those OTIW & OTIE officials and employees get things so important so wrong on so many occassions?

 

OBC, OLO, OLC, ODD, DOLM & OTIE = Undertakers of the Land

Oneida Business Committee breaking ground to illegally dump near Oneida Tribal Cemetery despite warnings

 


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