ARAPAHO — A Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes official testified last week that $2 million was withdrawn from accounts belonging to the tribes shortly before the remaining funds were frozen by a Clinton bank.
Scott Meacham, the former state treasurer and an attorney representing the bank, said the tribes also were trying to withdraw an additional $1.9 million at the time the funds were frozen.
First Bank and Trust Co. placed an administrative freeze on roughly $6.4 million in tribal funds in April because of an ongoing leadership dispute within the tribes.
“I think they were trying to take out everything, except for outstanding checks they had out there,” Meacham said. “If they did that, the lawsuit wouldn't have a point.”
The bank has asked a Custer County district judge to decide who is authorized to sign on the tribes various accounts.
Meacham, who attended a hearing Friday in Custer County, said the judge is expected to make a ruling June 21. Meacham said the atmosphere at the hearing, which lasted into the evening, was tense but civil.
“There were a lot of objections and a lot of arguing through the attorneys ... but nothing more than that,” Meacham said. “But there were factions representing both sides at the hearing.”
Meacham said Janice Prairie Chief-Boswell wasn't at the hearing, but Leslie Wandrie-Harjo was. Both claim to be governor of the tribes.
Janice Prairie Chief-Boswell, who is the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes' disputed governor, and Leslie Wandrie-Harjo, who was lieutenant governor at one time, each claim to be governor of the tribes. The dispute, which has divided the tribes into factions, has raged for more than a year.