Long-Time Democrat Tribal Ally Accused Of Financial Shenanigans
Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall is a lame duck now thanks to a primary vote on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Hall came in fourth out of six candidates, with the top two candidates going on to the general election to decide the next chairman.
Hall’s loss comes after a report detailing alleged financial chicanery on his part was revealed by tribal officials.
Lauren Donovan at the Bismarck Tribune reported on the release of the report yesterday, and it is some ugly stuff:
The report lays out a timeline that alleges just days after being elected in 2010, Hall used his office to demand $1.2 million from Spotted Hawk Development, an oil and gas company, before he would sign off on the company’s development plan. It also alleges he used his office to secure more than $580,000 in payments for water-hauling to a man who has since been implicated in a separate murder-for-hire scheme. The report further alleges he unfairly competed with other tribal oil service companies. …
The report lays a direct path between Hall and James Henrikson, who’s in jail and implicated in the murder-for-hire of a former oil field partner, and Henrikson’s wife, Sarah Creveling.
It says the couple essentially operated Maheshu, Hall’s private company with first-tier reservation hiring preference, while running their Blackstone trucking company under it.
Hall said the two businesses shared profits, but later denied making that statement, according to the report.
The report also alleges Hall used tribal employees to make payments for water-hauling based on Blackstone invoices that were never seen or approved by the tribal council. It also alleges that the Spotted Hawk demand for $1.2 million ended only when attorneys said a so-called “settlement” would require Hall to make financial disclosure to the tribal council and remove himself from any official action on the lease and drilling deal.
It’s worth noting that Hall has been a long-time supporter of Democrats in the state. He was a staunch ally in Indian Country for Senator Heidi Heitkamp in her 2012 campaign, one that relied heavily on getting out the Native American vote. “Now Chairman Tex Hall knows how to welcome a girl and throw a rally! What a great time at Four Bears Casino in New Town,” Heitkamp wrote on her campaign Facebook page on November 3rd, 2012. “Thank you Chairman Hall, and thank you MHA Nation for an incredibly warm and raucous reception on a chilly November day. You know my door will always be open and Indian Country will always have a seat at the table in my office.”
In 2006, Hall addressed the North Dakota Democrats’ state convention in Fargo:
Rancher and Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall is rarely seen without his trademark cowboy hat, boots and pie-plate sized belt buckle.
On Friday, Hall also donned a centuries-old breast plate once used to deflect arrows from enemy tribes.
“I only wear it on special occasions – and this was special,” said Hall, following his address to delegates at the state Democratic convention in Fargo.
Hall pledged his support to North Dakota Democrats, especially Sen. Kent Conrad and Rep. Earl Pomeroy, who are running for re-election.
He posed for pictures with them on stage at the Fargo Civic Center, to a roar of approval from delegates.
“We know who our friends are and we know who our friends aren’t,” Hall said, citing a positive relationship with the state’s all Democratic congressional delegation.
“Their door has always been open,” Hall said. “That means a lot to know we have that relationship with our congressional leadership.
“They are willing to listen to issues that affect Indian country,” he said.
Halls questionable ethics have been well-known in political circles for years. It’s hard to believe that Democrats weren’t aware of them. But Hall was a useful ally for garnering votes among one of the state’s largest tribes, so maybe it was easier to look the other way.
It won’t be that easy going forward given recent allegations.