Update: Judge rules for St. Marks in election lawsuit

Election board may decide on Monday on appeal


September 27, 2013

Ken Blatt St. Marks said he may be sworn in as chair of the Chippewa Cree Tribal Council as early as Monday.

St. Marks said Tribal Court Judge Donna Running Wolf ruled in his favor Thursday in a lawsuit he filed against the tribe’s election board. The board threw out the results of the election in which St. Marks finished first of five candidates.

St. Marks has been in a prolonged battle with the tribal establishment at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation. He says that is because he is cooperating with federal officials investigating widespread corruption. Several people have already been indicted, and the federal investigation is ongoing.

St. Marks was elected once and thrown out of office by the tribal council. He then ran to fill the vacancy caused by his removal.

In that vote, election board members contended that some people had voted using paper tribal identification documents instead of the mandated laminated identification cards. Tribal officials were unable to provided laminated certificates on election day because the equipment overheated. Election board members allowed people with paper certificates to vote, but after the results were tallied, the board invalidated the election.

But Running Wolf said only 12 people voted without laminated cards, and St. Marks won by 137 votes.

The election board will meet Monday, St. Marks said.

He said he wouldn’t be surprised if the election board decided to appeal Running Wolf’s decision to a tribal appellate court.

Lynn Fagan, the Missoula attorney who represented the election board, said she had not talked to her clients and wasn't sure whether they were interested in appealing.

He said she believed the board had five days to make a decision. But if the board decides not to appeal, she said, St. Marks may well be sworn in on Monday.

She said Running Wolf's decision was based largely on the lack of written procedures and not out af a belief there was an attempt to keep St. Marks out of office.

But St. Marks said he was sure that many in tribal leadership will don't want him in office.

“I could be sworn in on Monday and be impeached on Tuesday,” he lamented.

“They have spent a lot of money to get me,” he said. “They might keep going at it.”

Running Wolf was unavailable for comment Friday morning.


Reader Comments

DianeSwan writes:

Sorry Gettinold I wanted to send my comment to Seahawk.

DianeSwan writes:

Hey gettinold did you see them in Beaver Creek meeting? Why would Jake meet with him? After what he did to Fawn, Get your story and make sure it is true before, you start naming people meeting with him!!

shocking writes:

it does not shock me that people cling to what they claim is theirs. it does not shock me that people, even people who don't care, will claim they are doing things for the good of the people all the time lining their pockets. it does not shock me that people in positions of authority will desperately hold onto their moneypot until the very last. it does not shock me that the fed will confuse and exacerbate ANY situation, what shocks me is people still believe these 8 clowns.

seahawk writes:

@gettinold the dictator has been out and back in the council for a couple of weeks now and he's already up to his old tricks, having secret meetings with the dr. eastlick and jake in beaver creek park. im not surprised tony wasn't invited.

powerofpeople writes:

@Grumpy and all the other detractors. Ken may have some skeletons in his closet. However, other council members have them also, with two other sitting council members who sold drugs to my generation our tribe is not without its contradictions. Your biased comment is childish. This episode has always been about the will of the majority versus the corrupt.

gettinold writes:

Who cares anymore, let the Dictatorship begin and let him raise his hell, and let HIMSELF get impeached with the Havre Daily on standby for some pics, again...Dramatic lil fella, enit?

Bill writes:

Game over Rickey Mouse Club, three strikes and your out. Time to move on. There's nothing left in the chicken coop Grumpy, the tribe is broke and heavily in debt from mismanagement.

grumpytoo writes:

I agree with Grumpy

fedup writes:

the election board is supposed to represent the tribe, not a certain group of individuals or tribal officials, in a fair and impartial manner. the judges decision should be honored and lets move on without the dictators control who done some major damage to the entire Tribe.

Grumpy writes:

I have known Kenny Blatt for years, again the fox is back in the chicken coop. Just like a rerun sit-com, and now it starts all over again!


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