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Cherokee chief fighting impeachment
Monday, 06 March 2017 12:21

From Staff Reports

CHEROKEE — Cherokee Tribal Chief Patrick Lambert is vowing not give up without a fight against his impeachment, after FBI agents on Jan. 31 collected files from the Qualla Housing Authority. 

Lambert, 53, told reporters that some Tribal Council members are engaged in a “witch hunt” to remove him as chief.

On Feb. 2, the Cherokee Tribal Council voted 9-3 to begin impeachment proceedings against Lambert. The vote was taken “to the boos of an outspoken audience,” the (Waynesville) Smoky Mountain News reported.

Lambert, promising more accountability, took office about 18 months ago and launched audits in such places as the Qualla Housing Authority, which receives federal funds and helps tribal members find housing.

The FBI is investigating the authority for possible criminal conduct related to loans and possible fraud.

Lambert reportedly has been cooperative with the investigation.

Some Tribal Council members said he has improperly handled hiring and firing on the reservation since taking office. Therefore, they are calling for his impeachment.

The tribe’s spokesman told the news media that there is a connection between those council members and the housing authority.

“Six Tribal Council members sit on that (Qualla) board. It just so happens, today, when the FBI showed up and started to collect evidence through the warrant process, that an impeachment process popped up on Chief Lambert. It’s to be noted that Chairman (Bill) Taylor and several others sit on that board,” Tribal Communications Director Chris McCoy told Asheville’s WLOS-TV (Channel 13). 

Several Lambert supporters packed tribal chambers on the afternoon of Feb. 2, WLOS reported. However, WLOS noted in its report that there are several others who oppose his tenure and see him as overreaching.

At the Daily Planet’s presstime, it was unclear when any further action on impeachment proceedings will begin.



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