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Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes sue Oklahoma district judge over frozen funds

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes are now suing a Custer County district judge as they try to free up millions of dollars frozen by a Clinton bank at the end of April.
by Andrew Knittle Published: May 17, 2012

Lisa Liebl, a spokeswoman for the tribes, said checks to vendors, contractors and tribal employees started bouncing soon after the freeze went into effect. She said the tribes' 500 or so employees — excluding casino workers — are now working a reduced work schedule to save money.

Liebl said the tribes' Lucky Star casinos will continue to run without interruption but that many programs administered using federal dollars will have to cease or be scaled back until the banking dispute is resolved.

According to the lawsuit, the tribes claim that key governmental functions such as housing assistance and a food voucher program will be severely cut back if the funds remain frozen. Documents provided by the tribes indicate that hundreds of tribal and nontribal members could be affected if the funds aren't freed up.

Emergency medical services, firefighting units, substance abuse programs and a laundry list of other social services provided by the tribes “will likely be scaled back tremendously,” Liebl said.

by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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