Local tribal leader faces impeachment

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Quick facts:

  • The United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians voted to impeach Chief George Wickliffe.
  • Wickliffe is accused of taking money from the tribe.
  • A federal investigation may follow.

Millions in missing money, unauthorized purchases for family members and claims of corruption have a long time Green Country tribal leader in limbo.

The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians tribal council met in executive session Tuesday to decide the future of Chief George Wickliffe.

The council said millions in unaccounted funds and questionable spending have left the tribe’s financial situation looking bleak.

They brought stacks of documents laying out charges of embezzlement, misconduct and more.

Tribal treasurer Ella Mae Worley said a check of the tribe’s books found Wickliffe made thousands of dollars in unauthorized purchases.

An investigation also found three current council members, William Christie, Charles Smoke and Jerry Hansen, received unauthorized cash advances totaling more than $255,000.

The chief’s secretary also reportedly used federal loans for herself.

Around $2 million from the tribe’s casino that closed in 2013 is also missing.

A federal investigation may be launched into the claims.

Wickliffe declined to comment on the claims.

The tribe voted to impeach him from office Tuesday.


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