Crow chairman says tribe will pay back misspent money to federal government

Posted at 4:25 PM, Oct 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-05 18:28:38-04

CROW AGENCY- The chairman of the Crow Tribe vowed Thursday to repay misspent federal money identified in a recent audit, which could total in the millions.

The money came from the Crow Water Rights Settlement Compact, which was designed for water-system improvements on the reservation in south-central Montana.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Interior Inspector General’s Office released a report stating the tribe had misspent or could not account for $12.8 million of federal money from 2014 to June 2017.

Of this total, $4.8 million was for unallowable costs, $7.8 million for costs that aren’t accounted for and $246,000 for missing equipment, auditors for the agency’s Inspector General Office said.

In a statement, Chairman Alvin “A.J” Not Afraid Jr.’s administration said the findings showed “gross mismanagement” of tribal money by the federal Bureau of Reclamation, including invoicing irregularities by a former engineering firm.

“I was elected to change a system that allows the federal government and the Crow Administration to squander Tribal funds. We are working with BOR officials to implement a Corrective Action Plan, so that this kind of abuse does not – cannot – happen again,” said Chairman Alvin “A.J.” Not Afraid, Jr. in a statement. “Program by program, we are cleaning up decades of mismanagement between these governments. I welcome the truth, though it is sometimes difficult for us to hear. If we do not hear it, we cannot fix the problems.”

Related: Federal auditor says Crow Tribe misplaced almost $13 million of water-system money