Now reinstated Yekookche First Nation chief Henry Joseph "placed himself in a conflict of interest" when he accepted financial support from Lake Babine Chief Wilf Adam to wage his legal battle to regain the position, according to allegations in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court.
In a notice of civil claim filed on Aug. 3, Joseph is alleged to have accepted a "guarantee of legal fees" from Adam for the court action that saw the recall rules used to oust Joseph ruled invalid by a Federal Court Justice last week.
The move placed Joseph in a conflict, according to the claim in which the YFN is named the plaintiff, because he had reached a handshake agreement with Adam that would see the Yekooche refrain from infringing on Lake Babine territory as part of reaching a final treaty agreement with the federal and provincial governments.
Portions of the two bands' traditional territory overlap.
"There was no justifiable basis for the defendant to purport to waive any of Yekooche's interest in territory which overlapped with the Lake Babine territory, and that the defendant failed to obtain a resolution from council or the members authorizing him to take such action," the plaintiff states.
Several other claims are alleged in the statement:
- Joseph violated hiring policy when he hired his stepdaughter as the office manager and transfered the finance director's signing authority to her.
- Joseph further exposed the band to employment-related liability when he improperly fired several employees, according to the notice.
- Joseph locked out staff and all band members from the band's finance office, contrary to YFN dispute resolution policy and issued threats to band councilors and members.
- Joseph misappropriated funds when he and band councilor Mathew Joseph authorized $5,000 in payment to each other as an "advance on backdated salary."
None of the claims have yet been proven in court.