Shiles, Bob. “Tribe must return $265K to HUD – Money misspent on travel, non-housing needs.” The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC) March 18, 2016.
The Lumbee Tribal Government owes the federal government $264,985 because money was misspent on excessive travel and non-housing needs, such as activities and programs not related to housing, between October 1, 2012 and March 20, 2015. This was told to the Lumbee Tribal Council by Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. on March 17, 2016.
Godwin Jr. said he aims to work with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to reduce the amount that the tribe owes. The initial write-up by the department reported five preliminary findings. The tribe does have an opportunity for a hearing before the Department makes its official response.
The tribe aims to implement a new tribal redistricting plan that would add seven districts, a plan that was supposed to be implemented immediately following the 2010 census.
In the meeting, the tribe also amended the travel ordinance, heard concerns about member stipends that total $50,400 per year in council travel, and decided no council members will attend a three-day conference in Hawaii that would have cost an estimated $48,859. While some wanted to go, the council decided that, given the circumstances, that was not going to happen.
In other news, Godwin Jr. was also asked to move forward with buying 16.69 acres in Rowland, North Carolina to be used as an elder’s center, since money to purchase and construct had already been approved.