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Probe continues of bomb threat at tribal council

May 20, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

The May 12 incident forced postponement of the controversial meeting for one week.

Authorities are continuing to investigate a bomb threat at the Eastern Shoshone Tribe's General Council meeting May 12 in Fort Washakie.a

"No device was found, and an investigation is still under way," said FBI Denver-based spokesman Dave Joly.

The bomb threat happened at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 12, and resulted in the evacuation of Rocky Mountain Hall and the postponement of the special General Council meeting that would have focused on the tribe's housing agency.

The controversial meeting was rescheduled for May 19 at Rocky Mountain Hall.

The expanded agenda on the meeting targeting the Eastern Shoshone Housing Authority listed reasons for the gathering.

They include a possible new direction for the housing agency by the Eastern Shoshone Business Council, the abolishment and reinstatement of the program's board of directors, severing ties with the Stetson Law Firm, and wrongful terminations.

The bomb threat brought a strong response from state and federal agencies, with law enforcement personnel blocking access around Rocky Mountain Hall on North Fork Road.

"Of course the FBI, local tribal and state law enforcement agencies all assisted with the events that unfolded on Saturday," Joly said.

"The Wyoming Department of Homeland Security provided not only a bomb-detecting dog but also a bomb team or bomb squad."

One General Council attendee said about 110 tribal members had gathered for the meeting. There were reports that authorities had also evacuated the nearby Morning Star Manor health care facility.

The meeting came after tribal members signed a petition calling for a special gathering to discuss concerns about the housing agency.

Housing authority officials have said in the past that motives for the meeting rest with bitter program board members who had been fired and others attempting to derail vast improvements at the agency.

The turmoil surrounding the housing agency comes about after an Eastern Shoshone General Council meeting in February 2010 led to the termination of five top-level managers of the program.

The unofficial transcript of the 2010 meeting stated reasons for their immediate termination included unfair employment practices, threatening and intimidating employees, favoritism, illegal termination, hostility toward tribal members and mismanagement of funds.

The dispute reached the Shoshone and Arapaho Tribal Court in the form of a lawsuit filed in February by the terminated former managers against the tribe and Business Council.

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