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RICHARD GRELLNER AND MIKE COPPERTHITE BACK IN THE SADDLE IN CADDO COUNTRY
Jennifer Reeder was elected to office as Caddo Nation Representative for Oklahoma City in 2009. Two years later during the summer of 2011, Caddo Tribal Secretary, Diane Sparks passed away and Reeder was appointed to fill the remaining term of Diane’s position.
By late 2011, Reeder and other Caddo Tribal Council members came to question the actions of Chairwoman Brenda Edwards involving the welfare of the tribe. When the group voiced concerns about Edwards, it resulted in the removal of Tribal Council members. Reeder was the first tribal member in office to be recalled by a large group of Edwards’ supporters. Although Reeder and the four remaining Tribal Council members refused to recognize the Reeder’s removal due to its illegality. Chairman Edwards allowed it to stand.
The stand against former Governor Edwards by the majority Tribal Council resulted in Edwards subsequently having them removed through an illegal removal proceeding and had the removed Council members blocked from attending further Tribal Council meetings.
In May of 2012, a recall petition was submitted to Caddo Tribal Business Manager Christine Noah. The Election Board who had aligned with Edwards and her faction, refused to provide voter records to validate the recall. The day after the petition was submitted, Noah (a Caddo Tribal Member) was terminated by Edwards for accepting the petition.
The refusal of the Department of Interior to acknowledge the serious issues with the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes in their struggle to stop the onslaught of corruption. So it was with the Caddos. By July 2012, with only two Tribal Council members left and lacking a quorum to conduct Tribal business, Edwards illegally appointed her own Tribal Council. Those affected by Edwards’s actions appealed to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior Board of Indian Appeals, and other governmental agencies for over a year. The Department of the Interior through the Bureau of Indian Affairs would not perform their fiduciary responsibility as the overseer of tribal lands and resources and also turned a blind eye to the serious dismantling of Caddo tribal government despite their request for intervention.
In July 2013 the Caddo Nation held elections for Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Oklahoma City Representative, Secretary and Binger Representative. Jennifer Reeder and two other removed council members were kept from getting on the ballot to run for office.
Voting discrepancies arose as the election phase progressed. Chairwoman Edwards access to voter registration information and the subsequent changes in voting procedure resulted in many individuals and families who did not support Edwards not being allowed to vote or not receiving a voting ballot. Despite the rigged elections Edwards received only 30 votes from all four of Caddo voting polls. Chairman Edwards lost the popular vote to Anthony Cotter of Anadarko, Oklahoma.
RICHARD GRELLNER AND MICHAEL COPPERTHITE DO THE CADDO’S
Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribal attorney Richard Grellner and Falls Church, Virginia public relations operative Michael Copperthite have been leading participants in the Cheyenne-Arapaho politics for the past twenty years. The duo were instrumental in the 1996 scandal that found the Cheyenne-Arapaho donation to former president Bill Clinton for $108,000. The tribes used revenue from the then bingo hall run by Southwest Casino Corporation. After Darrell Flyingman was elected Governor of the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes, he terminated the contract of Southwest Casino Corporation and Richard Grellner who left while Flyingman governed, taking Copperthite and his dirty bag of tricks with them. (see the Cheyenne- Arapaho Grant Thornton Forensic Audit).
Attorney Grellner and public relations operative Michael Copperthite resurfaced during the 2009 gubernatorial campaigns for Cheyenne-Arapaho governor by clearing a path for current illegally seated governor of the tribes, Janice Boswell. During the campaign ro-bo calls were used to call tribal members. The two also were involved in the production and publication of a bogus newspaper in an effort to slander Flyingman. These methods proved successful for the Boswell campaign. When the ro-bo calls began during the Caddo election campaigns, it was later discovered that Michael Copperthite was directing the ro-bo calls to Caddo tribal members, Richard Grellner advises the Caddo Nation under Edwards.
Because of the poor showing at the polls for incumbent governor Brenda Edwards, she needed the absentee ballot in order to win the election. When the results of the absentee ballot were called, Edwards won by the absentee vote. Caddo tribal member Anthony Cotter then challenged the absentee count and asked to see that each ballot had the required postmark on it and that each ballot contained an executed affidavit. The request was denied by Edwards’ Election Boa
Because of the poor showing at the polls for incumbent governor Brenda Edwards, she needed the absentee ballot in order to win the election. When the results of the absentee ballot were called, Edwards won by the absentee vote. Caddo tribal member Anthony Cotter then challenged the absentee count and asked to see that each ballot had the required postmark on it and that each ballot contained an executed affidavit. The request was denied by Edwards’ Election Board .
Anthony Cotter and Andrea Reeder circulated a second recall petition against Chairwoman Edwards. The petition was turned in after the July 2013 election. In early September of 2013, Wildena Moffer former Caddo Election Board member, was the newly elected Secretary. Moffer determined that the petition was invalid stating that the Caddo tribal members who signed the petition were not registered voters.
The petition carriers and their supporters knew that Moffer, would resort to challenging the validity of the voter registration. The petition carriers collected signatures while making sure that the signer had either a voter’s registration card or had already submitted a new voter registration application. To date, the petition carriers have copies revealing that many tribal members whose votes were denied, were indeed registered voters.
Ultimately, Secretary Moffer refused to act upon the information and Caddo tribal members were denied a second recall meeting. Tribal members approached the four new members of the Caddo Tribal Council and demanded that a recall meeting be called for the position of Chairman of the tribe. After reviewing the constitution of the Caddo Nation and the Recall and Removal Ordinance, Philip Smith agreed to call together the requested meeting in his capacity of Vice-Chairman which is required when the Tribal Chairman is the subject of a recall. Forty-one members showed up. Edwards was recalled unanimously on September 7, 2013. Brenda Edwards refused to step aside.
The 2009 campaign strategy for the Cheyenne-Arapaho governorship was the prototype for the 2013 Caddo election process. Attorney Richard Grellner and Michael Copperthite’s involvement in the 2009 elections between former governor Darrell Flyingman and Janice Boswell, mirrors the hardships, tactics, illegalities and tragic results of that election process. Armed with the Carl Rove type tactics brought to the Cheyenne-Arapaho and Caddo tribal elections by public relations operator Copperthite. Defeated, Chairman Edwards loyal employees proceeded to block the four Tribal Council members who voted against Edwards from coming into the administration building to serve Edwards with a recall notice. It was then that determined Caddo tribal members decided they would not give up and resolved to not allow this to happen to their tribe.
After two weeks in office as the illegal sitting Chairman of the Caddo tribe, Edwards’ opposition took action to remove her from the administration building without violence. On the evening of September 24, 2013, the new Tribal Council along with thirty willing Caddo tribal members converged on the complex with a locksmith, an IT Tech, and their own security force. The locks were changed and internet deactivated so that Edwards and her husband no longer had remote access to the tribe's server and vital records. Twenty-four hour security guards were hired to keep the illegal chairwoman out.
In retaliation, Edwards stole a computer server out of the IT Tech’s vehicle as he was loading it in his vehicle where it was to be taken to his office for repair. This move by Edwards shut down the Caddo’s federal programs so they could not execute draw downs to provide services. Edward’s also went to the bank and to date, has withdrawn over $150,000.00, allegedly to pay Caddo Nation employees for administrative leave. Edwards gave tribal employees the directive to stay home. They were told that if they showed up for work under the Smith Administration that Edwards would fire them. . Today the Caddo Nation today has a new server up and are optimistic that it will be fully operational by the end of October. What is left for these strong-willed tribal members now under the new leadership of a new governor and Tribal Council is to replace the employees who have refused to return to work either out of fear of future retaliation or other reasons. The Caddos have hired a new attorney who is looking into legal recourse the Caddo Nation has against Edwards and her associates. Yet again, as it happened with the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes, BancFirst of Shawnee has continued to allow Edwards access to the tribe’s money after they were put on notice almost immediately after her recall occurred.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Anadarko Agency still recognizes Brenda Edwards as Caddo tribal Chairwoman despite proof of voter tampering and by refusing to acknowledge the July, 2013 election despite obvious and deliberate vote
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Anadarko Agency still recognizes Brenda Edwards as Caddo tribal Chairwoman despite proof of voter tampering and by refusing to acknowledge the July, 2013 election despite obvious and deliberate voter fraud. Standing on the BIA, “non-interference policy” where inter-tribal disputes occur, the BIA will not issue a decision on tribal government issues unless it impacts tribal trust lands or funds that are in the control of the United States government.