Ousted mayor’s vehicle is burned

Ketchikan, Alaska (AP) 2-08

Someone apparently set fire to a vehicle belonging to the recently ousted mayor of Metlakatla while he met with supporters at the community’s longhouse.

John Scudero Jr. was elected Metlakatla’s mayor in November and took office January of 2008. However, he was ousted early Febuary by a unanimous vote of the 12-member Metlakatla Indian Community Council.

The conflict has created turmoil in the small community, which is Alaska’s only federal Native reserve. It is located on Annette Island southeast of Ketchikan.

Scudero said that he had given the van to a friend several years ago who had since died. However, the vehicle was registered in Scudero’s name and whoever set it on fire likely knew who owned it, he said.

“It must be intimidation,” Scudero said.

Scudero, who was injured in a house fire in 2005 while unsuccessfully trying to save his son from the blaze, downplayed the alleged arson, saying it was an old van, unused and stored on blocks.

He said people at the meeting didn’t want him to leave the longhouse, sending others instead to check on Scudero’s van and his home.

Scudero said he filed for an injunction with the MIC Tribal Court, asking the magistrate to reinstate him at least until after a federal audit. Before his removal by the Council, Scudero questioned the community’s finances, calling for the audit.