Police still probing $65,000 theft from Eastern Pequots

North Stonington - State police continue to investigate the apparent theft of funds from the Eastern Pequot Tribe, whose chairman resigned abruptly last month.

The investigation is "ongoing," Detective Sgt. William Bundy of the Eastern District Major Crime Squad confirmed Tuesday. He could not say how long the investigation will take and declined to discuss it.

Tribal members have said Brian Geer resigned as chairman amid the "disappearance" of $65,000 in tribal funds, essentially the tribe's entire treasury.

The tribe will not comment on the state police investigation while it is pending, Dennis Jenkins, the tribe's acting chairman, said this week.

Jenkins, who did not seek re-election as vice chairman in tribal elections that took place Saturday, said a new chairman will be chosen at a special election in September. A council treasurer and a corresponding secretary also will be elected at that time, he said.

Notice of an Aug. 24 nominating meeting was posted on the tribe's website.

In Saturday's elections, Brenda Geer, who had been corresponding secretary, succeeded Jenkins as vice chairman. She is Brian Geer's sister. Lynn Powers was re-elected recording secretary and Valerie Gambrell was elected comptroller.

Winning the three council seats up for election Saturday were incumbent Thomas Perry; Angie Oliver, a former councilor; and Latasha Maddox.

Councilors whose seats were not up for election were Agnes Cunha, Joseph Perry, Sheri Jones and Kathy Sebastian Dring.

Two councilors whose terms were up left the council: Mary Sebastian and Marcia Flowers.

Brian Geer had been elected to a three-year term as chairman in July 2012, following the tribe's renewal of its bid for federal recognition. Months earlier, the tribe had filed a lawsuit against U.S. Department of the Interior officials, seeking to overturn the Bureau of Indian Affairs' 2005 denial of recognition for the tribe. The denial reversed a 2002 ruling in which the BIA had granted the recognition.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit in March.

The upheaval in the Eastern Pequots' leadership comes as the federal government is considering revisions in the federal-recognition process. Some believe the revisions, if adopted, could have implications for the tribe.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

Editor's note: This version corrects an earlier version.

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