BELCOURT, N.D. - The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Tribal Council voted to remove its chairman for alleged misconduct Monday, Oct. 23.
The vote was unanimous, with seven of the council’s nine members present for the meeting, according to a copy of the resolution posted on a tribal government Facebook page. Wayne Keplin, the ousted chairman, was not present.
Keplin’s ouster is effective immediately. Council Vice Chairman Roman Marcellais has been the acting chairman amid the leadership turmoil.
The council heard evidence of six charges of misconduct against Keplin, according to the resolution. In a news release posted later Monday, the tribe said he violated federal codes “prohibiting managing construction contracts in which he has a personal interest,” among other claims.
The tribe had previously accused him of misusing funds, breaking into tribal headquarters and attempting to form his own government. A tribal judge last week issued a temporary restraining order that the tribe said clarifies his attempted removal of the tribal council through an executive order has no effect.
"Well, if you want to talk about me and my misuse of authority, they need to look at themselves,” Keplin said last week.
The tribe has said Keplin tried to walk back his resignation, but he said last week he was still the chairman. Keplin was arrested for assault last week, but he denied assaulting anybody.