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Feds investigating chairman of Massachusetts tribe

Boston, Massachusetts (AP) 9-07

Federal agents are seeking an American Indian tribe’s records in an investigation into how millions of investors’ dollars were spent as the group fought for the right to build a casino, a tribal spokeswoman said.

Former Mashpee Wampanoag tribe Chairman Glenn Marshall, who resigned last month after admitting he lied about his military service in Vietnam and concealed a 1981 rape conviction, is the focus of the probe, spokeswoman Amy Lambiaso said Friday.

“It’s our understanding it is an investigation into Glenn Marshall and not any of the other tribe members,” she told The Associated Press.

Marshall hung up the phone when contacted by The Associated Press on September 14th.

The Cape Cod Times and The Boston Globe reported on their Web sites September 14th that the Internal Revenue Service is conducting the investigation. Lambiaso said she knows only that they are federal agents and did not know whether any records had been seized as of Friday afternoon.

An IRS spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment, and spokeswomen for the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI in Boston declined to comment.

Under Marshall’s leadership, the tribe recruited investors to help pay for lawyers and others to win federal recognition, which gives the tribe the right to build a casino.

Herb Strather, a Detroit real estate and casino developer, gave the tribe $8 million to move its application through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Marshall said in February, and another $5 million for land purchases.

Marshall said he hired genealogists and anthropologists to detail the tribe’s history and a lawyer to fight the BIA when it waited a decade before picking up the tribe’s application. He also hired a public relations consultant.

In December 2006, four members of the tribe sued in Barnstable Superior Court to force the tribal council to release financial details, alleging mismanagement. It asked the officers to account for millions of dollars given to the tribe and to explain the financial management of the tribe’s land holdings.

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