In February 2011 I filed an ethics complaint against the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Tribal Council Vice Chairman, Reyn Leno for what I believed was unethical behavior when he had work completed at his private residence by Round Valley construction at less than market rates. At the time he was the Vice Chairman of the Tribe, the Chairman of the Board for Round Valley and Round Valley was and is currently wholly owned by the Tribe. Please see Ethics Charges Filed blog post for more background.
It has been nearly 11 months and we have just now received a decision. Unfortunately, the Hearings officer, Ms. Naomi Stacy, ordered the charges dismissed, ruling the Tribal Ethical Standards Ordinance (TESO) is not applicable to Tribally owned LLCs. This decision was made after Mr. Leno and his attorney (also his cousin) Tom Cooney, argued that TESO did not apply to Tribal owned LLC’s. This decision did not exonerate Mr. Leno of wrongdoing or unethical behavior; rather Ms. Stacy determined she did not have jurisdiction to rule on the allegations.
I am making this post in an attempt to allow the general Tribal membership full access to all the information regarding this complaint and the hearings process. Below, in chronological order are the various filings and rulings made during this process:
Jenness: Ethics Complaint filed February 24, 2011.
Mr. Leno: Motion to dismiss. I did not include all the exhibits simply because there were over 40 pages.
Jenness: Answer to motion to dismiss
Ms Stacy: Hearings schedule
Ms. Stacy requested further briefings regarding the applicability of TESO to Tribal owned LLC’s. Order request for briefings.
Jenness: Supplemental briefing
Mr. Leno: Supplemental briefing
Oral arguments were made before Ms. Stacy regarding the applicability of TESO to Tribally owned LLCs.
Ms. Stacy’s final decision: Order dismissing ethics complaint.
The ramification of this decision is that Tribal members were robbed of the mechanism to hold our Tribal Council members and Tribal government accountable. Any actions by the Tribal Council or Tribal staff that are related to the Tribes numerous LLCs is not governed by TESO. Thus, any unethical behavior is immune from an ethics complaint.
During Mr. Leno’s bid for re-election this year he touted “accountability” but his stance on this issue is in stark contrast to accountability. In fact his reasoning and arguments demonstrate his true belief, he and Tribal Council are above the law and not subject to high moral and ethical standards.
It was a sad day when this decision was rendered. It propelled our Tribe farther down the path of corruption and non-accountability for our elected officials.