Chippewa Cree Tribe Cuts Assistance Payments, Workforce After Ruling

Tribal Chairman Harlan Baker posted a letter on the tribe's Facebook page Tuesday announcing the cutbacks

By Dillon Tabish

HAVRE  — The Chippewa Cree Tribe is holding back assistance payments and scaling back its workforce on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation after a judge ordered the tribe to pay at least $25 million to a company that developed the Northern Winz Casino in Box Elder.

Tribal Chairman Harlan Baker posted a letter on the tribe’s Facebook page Tuesday announcing the cutbacks.

The Havre Daily News reported. Baker said BEH Gaming Ltd. was only supposed to collect money from casino accounts, but that it took money from a number of tribal accounts “many of which were completely zeroed out.”

“We have fought and we are going to continue to fight this on behalf of the tribe in this case,” Baker wrote. “We are working diligently to protect all of our financial resources from BEH.

District Judge Dan Boucher on Feb. 14 ordered the tribe and the Chippewa Cree Development Corp. to pay Florida-based BEH more than $20.62 million principal and interest on a 2006 loan.

The tribe and its online lending company Plain Green were ordered to pay another $4.56 million on a 2011 promissory note.

BEH Gaming filed its lawsuit against the tribe in September 2014 seeking just over $18 million.