Monthly stipends paid to the Shinnecock Indian Nation by a Detroit-based casino development company have been suspended while the tribe sorts out who is legally in charge of the nation, 27east reports.
Lance Gumbs, who was removed as a tribal trustee by a vote he says is not substantianted by law, told Newsday that the leadership dispute is "dividing the tribe almost to the point of civil war."
Gumbs, Gordell Wright and Randy King were elected to one-year terms as tribal trustees in April 2012. However, Gumbs and Wright were forced to step down in August, Newsday reported, after they and others were accused of conducting unauthorized business dealings in violation of the tribe's contract with Gateway Casino Resorts, the Detroit-based developer.
The decision to remove the two trustees from office was reaffirmed by a tribe-wide vote in October. Gumbs and Wright continued to fight their removal, and 27east reports that a planned Jan. 21 meeting with a federal mediator between tribe members on opposite sides of the issue was called off.
Shinnecock Indian Nation spokeswoman Beverly Jenson told Patch Friday that the nation has no comment.