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Davison ousts Mark Brown from Mohegan council in special election do-over

Mohegan — Ken Davison, a longtime advocate for transparency in tribal affairs, has unseated Mark Brown, winning the redo of a December special election Brown won by a single vote.

In voting among tribal members last Sunday, Davison, who had challenged the outcome of the Dec. 8 special election, won the seat originally held by Brown's brother, Kevin Brown, the former council chairman who resigned last year following an ethics investigation.

Davison will serve out the remainder of Kevin Brown's four-year term, which expires in October 2021.

On Friday, the tribe posted the outcome of Sunday's voting on the website of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Neither Davison nor Brown have commented on the election and neither immediately responded to requests for comment Friday.

The nine-member tribal council doubles as the management board of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which operates Mohegan Sun as well as the tribe's U.S. and international gaming enterprises.

The tribe's Council of Elders invalidated the Dec. 8 special election outcome and ordered a new vote in a Jan. 31 decision prompted by complaints Davison and another tribal member, Mark Sperry, filed against the Mohegan Tribal Election Committee, the tribal court and the elders' council.

Davison alleged the election committee had improperly shortened voting hours on Dec. 8, preventing Sperry from submitting two ballots in favor of Davison. Had the committee accepted the Sperry ballots — one from Sperry himself and one from his son, Marc Sperry — Davison would have won the election, Davison argued.

Without the Sperry ballots counted, Brown won, 229 to 228.

Mark Sperry also petitioned the election committee, the tribal court and the elders' council, which is the tribe's ultimate judicial authority.

Finding that the election committee had failed to properly notify tribal members of a decision to shorten Dec. 8 voting hours from three hours (9 a.m. to noon) to 30 minutes (8:30 to 9 a.m.), the elders' council ordered a new election with Davison and Brown on the ballot. Another candidate, Jay Ihloff, had appeared on the Dec. 8 ballot, finishing third with 165 votes.

Davison is a lawyer who once wrote "Feather News," an independent tribal news blog. He is a son of the late Faith Davison, a revered archivist and researcher credited with helping preserve the Mohegan Tribe's cultural history.

Heading into the Dec. 8 special election, Brown had served 24 consecutive years on the tribal council before losing a re-election bid last August. After winning the special election, he officially served again from Dec. 18 to Jan. 31, when the elders' council invalidated the Dec. 8 election results.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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