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Bois Forte Tribal Council censures member a second time

For the second time in six months, the Bois Forte Reservation Tribal Council has censured Rep. Mark Drift Sr. The council also began the process that could remove Drift from office.

For the second time in six months, the Bois Forte Reservation Tribal Council has censured Rep. Mark Drift Sr. The council also began the process that could remove Drift from office.

According to a news release from the band, the censure was the result of a two-month investigation into allegations that Drift used a tribal council credit card to obtain cash at other tribes' casinos for personal reasons, and that he failed to reimburse the band for unauthorized expenditures.

An internal review listed 16 credit card irregularities by Drift, Secretary-Treasurer David Morrison Sr. told the tribal council Monday.

"We closely monitor our budget because we handle various grants, tribal operating revenues and federal self-governance budget allocations," Morrison said in the release. "It is unfortunate that this incident occurred, but it is fortunate that we had the procedures in place to discover it. We have now completed our internal review and will use the band's procedures to resolve the situation."

The council ordered Drift to repay the money in question by Monday. Tribal officials Wednesday did not respond to requests for how much they believe Drift owes.

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Drift could not be reached for comment.

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs also is investigating the credit card irregularities and may file criminal charges, the release said.

The band issued a formal notice of censure against Drift on Tuesday. In it, the Tribal Council recommends that the process begin that could lead to Drift's removal from office. If at least 20 percent of band members living on the reservation and eligible to vote sign a petition calling for Drift's removal, the council will hold a formal hearing on the charges against him.

The Tribal Council censured Drift in October for engaging in conduct that caused a tribal government employee to feel "oppressed, persecuted or humiliated" and for failing to exhibit the ethical behavior required of all elected officials.

Drift represents District 1 of the Nett Lake Indian Reservation in northwestern St. Louis County and southeastern Koochiching County.

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