Liz Gray/Managing Editor
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation District Court has issued a decision and order in the civil lawsuit filed by Okfuskee District Representative Travis Scott against the MCN National Council.
Scott filed in MCN District Court after the National Council took the following actions against Scott as a result of an investigation by the Internal Affairs Committee: issued a letter of reprimand by the Speaker, imposed public censure by National Council Resolution, imposed a $50,000 fine, caused Scott’s National Council salary and benefits to be ceased, and expelled Scott from all future National Council meetings and duties.
Judge Stacy Leeds granted Scott be reinstated to all duties as an elected representative of the Council, including salary and benefits.
In addition, Leeds ruled the $50,000 fine is unenforceable and is ordered to be set aside.
However, Leeds did not grant Scott’s request to prohibit the Council from interfering with his duties as an elected official, citing separation of powers as the justification for the denial.
In the ruling, the court pointed out the internal rules of the Council state only certain offenses can be cause to discipline members.
“The enumerated offenses that are subject to discipline include excessive unexcused absences, harassment of employees, threatening jobs, refusing drug tests, failure to submit required travel paperwork, disorderly behavior, drug and alcohol abuse, inappropriate social media posts, inappropriate workplace relationships, misuse of tribal property, and acceptance of impermissible gifts,” the court stated.
“None of the enumerated offenses relate to engaging in business with the Nation or other types of financial impropriety or conflicts of interest.”
The decision also stated that the fine issued by the Council is more punitive than a fine that could be levied in a federal criminal court.
“That amount is greater than the annual salary for National Council members. The fine also exceeds any fine that could be imposed as a result of a criminal conviction in the Nation’s courts,” the court stated. “Federal law imposes a sentencing limitation of three years and $15,000 upon conviction of certain crimes. In those instances, defendants are entitled to significant due process protections under federal and Muscogee (Creek) Nation laws, including the right to a jury trial and assistance of counsel.”
Mvskoke Media reached out to MCN National Council for a statement on whether they were going to accept the MCN District Court ruling and if the Council would be proceeding with the impeachment of Rep. Scott, but did not receive a response as of press time.
MM reached out to Scott and received a response in which he stated he received a letter Sept. 10 from Speaker Randall Hicks regarding his reinstatement and informed Scott that the majority of the National Council accepted the MCN District Court decision.
“I have yet to be compensated for my time being absent due to the National Council relinquishment process,” Scott stated. “I have yet to receive any correspondence in this matter for future reference.”
Scott attended the Business, Finance and Justice committee and the joint BFJ/Land, Natural Resources and Cultural Preservation committee held Sept. 16 via teleconference. However, he was expelled from the Sept. 21 Planning Session due to a motion made by Rep. Adam Jones due to discussion on the pending impeachment process.
This is a developing story and will have ongoing coverage as it becomes available.