Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Belcourt: Mistakes were made

Ex-lawmaker wants truth to come out at sentencing


Tony Belcourt

GREAT FALLS - In a plea agreement covering federal six cases, former state Rep. Tony Belcourt, D-Box Elder, pleaded guilty to charges in four of them this afternoon.

"I'll accept that mistakes were made," Belcourt said after the hearing at federal court in Great Falls. "But I want the truth to come out at my sentencing hearing."

Belcourt pleaded guilty to two counts of accepting bribes, a count of tax fraud and a count of theft from a Indian tribal government receiving federal funds.

The cases allege the Belcourt and his wife, Hailey Belcourt, conspired to embezzle money going either to the regional water pipeline being built or the replacement of the 2010 flood-destroyed Chippewa Cree Tribe's clinic at Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.

Havre Daily News/Eric Seidle

Former State Rep. Tony Belcourt, D-Box Elder, exits fromt he federal courthouse in Great Falls after pleading guilty to several counts in the Rocky Boy scandal. At left, Belcourt's attorney Herman Watson.

Belcourt was CEO and chief contracting officer of the Chippewa Cree Construction Corp. that was the lead contractor on those projects.

His codefendant Hunter Burns entered a guilty plea in one case this morning, and Hailey Belcourt is scheduled to changer her plea Thursday.

James Eastlick Jr., a psychologist at Rocky Boy and, according to federal prosecutors' documents, a partner in business ventures with Tony Belcourt, Burns and former Havre school board chair Shad Huston, also is scheduled to change his plea in May.

Huston is a codefendant in one of the cases in which Belcourt pleaded guilty today.

The cases against Huston and Eastlick's family from Laurel, father James Eastlick Sr. and sister and brother-in-law Tammy and Mark Leischner, still are pending.

(Expanded coverage in Thursday's Havre Daily News)


Reader Comments

Rick writes:

Mistake?? Thats insulting I pray you get the max sentence along with your wife. If it was a mistake you would have returned the money not go purchase a new home in box elder and purchase water works so you can award yourself the contract. Thats not a mistake it is being a theif and you deserve every day of jail time you get, every penny you have to pay back, it will never fix what you did to the people on the reservation, all the poverty there and all you think is greed!!

Stuart Smith writes:

I mean own. Hit the wrong keys. What a bad mistake!!!!!!!!!!!

Stuart Smith writes:

And he still continues to won the crooked ranch, the crooked cattle, and the crooked house?

fedup writes:

There is a Board of Directors that approve or disapprove all activities of any importance, didn't they approve of these transactions or claim to know nothing? There is also a Tribal Chairman and Secretary Treasurer that know of all activities or major expenditures that take place, did they not know? This could have been stopped at the get go.

Godzilla writes:

Real Eyes Realize Real Lies!!!

Areyoukiddingme writes:

Mistakes were made. Nice weasel words. Lying Liars will lie.

Richy writes:

Accept what you want Tony, the fact is you stole from your own people. And those bogus leaders up there turned a blind eye. Small wonder the community is suffering from corruption fatigue.

Huh writes:

Get Kenny now we want to see the answers on the tremendous overcharges you made for your part of the construction.....

frankieH writes:

Mistake is a small word for what you did. The only mistake that was made, and continues today, is that we don't have transparency in Rocky Boy government. This type of behavior will only continue unless we vote with our heads and get a council that is not a den of thieves.

DonnieSue writes:

MISTAKE??? Puleese, you stole you did not make a mistake, like it accidently fell into your bank account and you accidently sent it to the Eastlicks and they mistakenly spent it because you made a Mistake by taking something that was not yours, It all boils down to you are a crook and face up to it. Dang!


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