October 4, 2013 |

New Rocky Boy embezzlement charges

Belcourts, James Eastlick Jr., Hunter Burns plead not guilty

New charges of embezzlement at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation have been filed in federal court, with four people and a corporation pleading not guilty in federal court in Great Falls.

Former state Rep. Tony Belcourt, D-Box Elder, also a former Chippewa Cree Tribe Business Committee member, his wife, Hailey Belcourt, psychologist James Howard Eastlick Jr., Hunter Burns and the Hunter Burns Construction company of Box Elder pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of embezzling federal funds, theft from a tribal government receiving federal funds, two counts of bribery, one of offering and one of accepting, and a count of fines for a corporate defendant.

The Belcourts and Eastlick’s father, sister and brother-in-law, James Howard Eastlick, Tammy Leischner and Mark Leischner, all of Laurel, also pleaded not guilty Thursday to revised charges in a previously filed case alleging embezzlement of federal stimulus act funds at Rocky Boy.

According to the indictment on the new charges, Hunter Burns and James Howard Eastlick Jr., who was 49 percent owner of Hunter Burns Construction, bribed the Belcourts to award contracts on the Rocky Boy’s/North Central Montana Regional Water Project to the company.

Belcourt is president and CEO of the tribally owned Chippewa Cree Construction Corp., which is the primary contractor on the water project.

The previously filed indictment alleges that the Belcourts, the Leischners and James Howard Eastlick used a complex scheme of dummy corporations, contracts and payments to embezzle federal stimulus act money also allocated to the water project.

Reader Comments

(3)

whatever writes:

faceit; typical response from the privileged. for the privileged, it is always 'evidence' when they say it, even through their 'evidence' basically amounts to he said she said with the 'she' under indictment as well; but when someone else exposes their corruption and they withhold and lie, no, thats 'rumor'

faceit writes:

the press release was to intended to inform community members on what Kenny Blatt did and what charges he has to answer too. He is not innocent. There is EVIDENCE on all that was stated in the press release. Come on people, we need a leader that LEADS BY EXAMPLE!! Kenny can't run from what he did wrong. And for all his supporters posting on the Home of the CC Facebook homepage are the same people over and over again, with ZERO credibility, and who are only hurting everyone in the long run

snickers2014 writes:

Kenny Blatt is not creating a media political circus for the chippewa cree tribe. It is the alleged actions of some non tribals that are creating an embarrassing political circus for the tribe. The council would rather choose to give justice to the non enrollees first and seek retaliation against an enrolled tribal member who was trying to bring these alleged illegal actions to light.