Fort Belknap Indian Reservation officials said today the reservation is on sound financial footing.
They denied allegations of financial problems with a press release from Fort Belknap Indian Community Council and its president, Tracy King.
“The Fort Belknap Indian Community Council is committed to satisfying all obligations with all vendors and staff,” the release said. “Our bank has assured us that funds are available to satisfy outstanding checks.”
They were responding to comments made by people who said checks issues by Tribal government had bounced.
Eric Seyfert, president of Priority Communications in Glasgow, recently did work on some of Fort Belknap Police Department’s cars. With the new work combined with old charges, some eight months old, Seyfert said Fort Belknap owed him more than $15,000, and he wasn’t going to return their vehicles until he saw some of that balance paid.
On Nov. 30, Fort Belknap gave him two checks, one for $10,000 and one for more than $1,000, from one of their checking accounts with Independence Bank.
When Seyfert took the checks to the bank, he was told that Fort Belknap didn’t have sufficient funds to back either of the checks.
Upset, Seyfert made many phone calls, to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to the FBI and to media outlets. He said other businesses had he same problem.
The amount of attention brought to bear on Fort Belknap prompted them to issue a release Wednesday evening, to address the “Temporary cash flow concerns.”
“When the Council learned that a vendor had a check returned for insufficient funds, immediate action was taken to remedy this issue with our bank,” the release said. “Within the day, we were assured that the problem was resolved.”
Despite an “unfortunate circumstance” with the checks issued through Independence Bank, representatives at Bank of Harlem, where the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation does all of their payroll, said that they were processing paychecks yesterday afternoon. Bank of Harlem Manager Jeremy Kinyon said Wednesday evening that he could say no more than that the checks were OK and ready to go.
King reiterated that any trouble was just a temporary mix-up.
“If there’s any problem out there, it will get taken care of,” King said. “My goal is to run a good clean ship here.”