Band members submit new petition
Members of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa have submitted a second petition asking for the removal of Reservation Business Committee member Vanessa Northrup. The first petition was rejected by a 3-2 vote by RBC members because it was filed more than 90 days after the date of the first signature.
The reason for removal listed on the petition is “malfeasance in the handling of tribal affairs by taking a check intended for a reservation project and signing and depositing it in her personal account.”
The check in question was a $2,000 from the University of Minnesota written to the FDL Band to help with construction of a new bike trail in August 2016. It was discovered missing as part of a routine audit in 2017, according to RBC Secretary/Treasurer Ferdinand Martineau. Northrup deposited the check in her bank account; she repaid the money after the check was discovered missing. Criminal charges were filed earlier this year, but Northrup was accepted into a diversion program offered by the Carlton County Attorney’s office.
Petition spokesperson Brian Bosto said he submitted the new petition to Martineau on Monday afternoon. The RBC met Tuesday and set a Thursday meeting to officially accept the petition, which had 284 signatures on 64 pages. Band members needed 209 signatures to meet the required 20 percent of resident eligible voters, according to Bosto.
If the signatures are verified over the next 30 days, the RBC is supposed to schedule a hearing open to band members. Northrup would present her defense and any witnesses there.
At that point, according to Bosto, the RBC could vote to remove Northrup, vote for a recall election or vote to do nothing.