St. Croix Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin could be in trouble after an audit report of a casino operated by the tribe found misappropriation of revenues to the tune of $1.5 million. The audit was conducted externally, and the report could land the native tribe in trouble as a Notice of Violation (NOV) has already been issued by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) earlier this month.
The violation notice sums up at least 527 infractions that are not in terms with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and other laws related to gambling in the state. The report has found such violations in the books of the operator between 2014 and 2017. According to the existing provisions, the tribe can be fined up to $52,596 for each violation.
While the discrepancies are revealed in the audit report, analysts say there are more skeletons in the closet and therefore an impending federal inquiry is looming over the casino operator.
In a statement to Casino.Org Rory Dilweg, a lawyer by profession and former chief counsel of Wisconsin’s Oneida Tribe of Indians said: “This is the longest — 29 pages — NOV, with the most alleged violations — 527 — I have ever seen.”
The NIGC has alleged that the tribe has not been following the rules and the extent of violations are shocking. In a series of violations which were revealed in the audit report, it was found that the tribal leaders with the responsibility to operate the gambling facility purchased flight tickets from the credit cards of the casino. It also found that there were many instances of payments made where no entry for purchased goods or services was made in the books.
Amongst those who received unaccounted payments are the tribe chairman Lewis Taylor and council member Elmer “Jay” Emery – $154,173 and $235,888 respectively. Also, there have been unaccounted payments of about $ $562,246 to others.
“Tribal casinos are, overall, incredibly well regulated and have provided revenue and jobs to many Indian tribes throughout the United States,” Dilweg explained.