Hoopa Valley Tribal Council waiting, Still no word what agency will lead investigation

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HOOPA VALLEY, Calif. (KIEM)-The Hoopa Valley Tribal Council has yet to find out what agency will ultimately investigate the allegations surrounding possible fraud during the recent tribal election.

Hoopa Valley Tribal Council Chair Byron Nelson Jr. says they take these allegations very seriously when it comes to possible wrong doing of the counting of the ballots.

“We’ve notified the appropriate agencies and we will be getting notice which agency it will actually be weather it will be state or FBI.”

Whether it’s the state or FBI, Nelson Jr. had a stern message.

“There are some very serious offenses that were alleged to have been-that occurred we as a tribe will not tolerate, although we are separate from the election board they are elected separate from the tribal council,” said Nelson.

And because the Tribal Council is the overall body, they are responsible.

“We are going to totally, totally investigate what really happened and if there are people that have done things illegally, they will be prosecuted,” he said.

The Hoopa Valley Election Board Chair Marla Jackson and Vice Chair Caroline Horne stepped down shortly after the investigation was launched into discrepancies involving ballot counts.

Redwood News attempted to reach both Jackson and Horne but did not hear back in time for publication.

“Two people, as I heard it, resigned soon after it was divulged that had actually happened,” Nelson said. “I haven’t seen anything in writing yet.”

The reason Jackson and Horne gave Nelson, one said they were moving and the other said she was ill.

According to Nelson, those matters are left to the election board and their attorney, but added there is a silver lining.

“But what come out of this is something positive as to revamp the whole system,” he said. “Make sure that this doesn’t occur again.”

Redwood News also reached out to the California Indian Legal Services office in Eureka and the Hoopa election board attorney Denise Bareilles.

Both responded with “no comment” but did say, the matter has been handed over to the appropriate agencies.