Pyramid Lake Tribe Members Halt
Lawyer's Development-Dollar Dip
by Tim Findley
|More than 30 members of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe confronted their council and its two top advisors early this month over an attempt by the tribe's lawyer to dip into trust funds reserved for economic development.|
| "Enough is enough. We're almost
broke from paying him now. I won't let him take the money
meant for our kids," said Elmira Copelan, a
spokeswoman for the Pyramid Lake Coalition. She presented
the tribal council with a petition signed by 154 of the
630-some enrolled members of the tribe.
Council Chairman Mervin Wright accused the coalition of working against tribal interests by opposing implementation of U.S. Senator Harry Reid's so-called "Settlement Act," but Wright acquiesced to the members' demands and agreed to rescind a letter he had already written to Reid asking the Senator for special legislation that would allow Tribal Attorney Robert Pelcyger to utilize interest earned on some $47 million being held in trust for economic development at Pyramid Lake.
The funds were not expected to be released to the tribe until after members vote later this year on a referendum to approve terms of implementing the settlement.
At a May 2 tribal council meeting, however, both Pelcyger and the tribe's hydrologist, Ali Sharoody of Stetson Engineering, appealed for payment of thousands
of dollars of overdue
bills for their services.
in the Treasury, it's
not even an additional outlay and all the other Senators
are going to defer to Senator Reid because this is his
for the lake," Mrs. Copelan said, "but a lot of us are not sure that's even what it's about any more. We need to know how much we're paying our lawyer -- and what for?"
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