- Category: news
- Created: Wednesday, 23 October 2013 14:06
- Published: Wednesday, 23 October 2013 14:06
- Written by Administrator 3
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JIM BENDER | QMI AGENCY
WINNIPEG — The chief of Buffalo Point First Nation, which has been involved in a lengthy legal battle with cottage owners, has been charged with attempting to extort a government employee.
The RCMP said Chief John Thunder was arrested on Tuesday following a four-month investigation after Mounties received a complaint about correspondence from the chief “directed at a federal government official with some level of involvement with the Buffalo Point Cottage Owners Association.”
Mounties said their investigation shows Thunder attempted to derail a civil case between the reserve, the cottage owners’ association, and Buffalo Point First Nation Development.
Thunder was released on a promise to appear in a Winnipeg court on Nov. 25.
The legal battle began when the Buffalo Point First Nation suddenly hiked the taxes of non-native property owners on the reserve from $875.50 per owner.
“We’re shunning away from interview with the media because of the court cases,” said Lee Delorme, the cottagers association president. “There are four Queen’s Bench court hearings, we’ve had two decisions and we’re going to federal court again, so I’ll refer you those.”
About 300 cottagers reportedly filed a statement of claim in January that allege the taxes violate long-term lease agreements, and asked the court to overturn them.
According to the minutes of a meeting held in May, Lee outlined reasons for continuing the litigation. They included the “preservation of our democratic rights as provided for in the 2008 agreement (with BFN)” and the “correction of all property tax errors and excess taxation.”