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Former rez housing director pleads not guilty in federal court
Jun 13, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer
A former executive director for the Eastern Shoshone Housing Authority appeared in federal court Monday for an arraignment in which she is accused of converting tribal money for "her own use."
Joanne Lynn Seesequasis pleaded not guilty to the charges that state she "knowingly and unlawfully" claimed more than $45,000 in overtime pay between March 2009 and March 2010. Possible penalties include up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment charge.
A trial will be held Aug. 19 in Cheyenne before U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal.
"With justice you just have to have patience," said Eastern Shoshone Business Council
member Ivan Posey on Wednesday. "The truth usually comes out."
Seesequasis, along with four other former tribal housing managers, was terminated from her position in 2010 and accused of unfair employment practices, threatening and intimidating employees, and favoritism.
In 2012, the five individuals filed a lawsuit in the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal Court against Posey, the Eastern Shoshone Business Council, the housing authority and the general council. In the suit, the five said their immediate termination, which was approved through a motion in a general council meeting, was illegal, and the termination of Seesequasis could only be done by the housing authority's board of directors. The suit also claimed that only Seesequasis could have terminated the other four employees, and a link could be made between Posey and the supposed embezzlement of tribal funds.
A release by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming stated the case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Inspector General.