Two Percent Fraud, or What?


This article is one of a series of editorial articles that express personal 
opinions and views. They are written with no pretensions to be error free. I 
will gladly correct substantial errors of fact. My opinions can change, 
depending upon my awareness of changes in factual information. It is my intent 
to remain focused on specific public issues, regarding the personalities 
involved. For all I know, all the characters are saints, concerning their 
private lives and other public business... 

Changes may be requested by e-mailing the details to


The following letter, concerning the apparent corruption of Sault Tribe of
Chippewa Indians gaming 2% revenue distribution, was written with the intent of
pursuing the subject as an agenda item at a future Manistique City Council
meeting. Manistique City Manager Sheila Aldrich's reports and communications,
at the Manistique City Council meeting of 02/12/07, changed my intentions,
immediately. I will not waste my breath, or the Manistique City Council's
time; rather, I will say what needs to be said, here. 


              Beware of Sault Tribe Indian Givers Bearing Gifts

In 1996, as a Manistique City Councilman, I took exception to a great deal of 
misleading publicity that labelled, as a "gift", the $500,000 provided the City 
of Manistique, by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The money was 
used to complete the basic construction of Manistique's multi-purpose
recreational building, and provide a usable ice rink.

As city councilman, I voted for the terms of a written contract that purchased 
the use of the facility, over a ten year period, for specific periods of time, 
and sold, to the Sault Tribe, the right to name the facility, and provided certain 
other specified consideration. I do not know if that "gift" was carried on the 
Sault Tribe's books as payments from the 2% of its net video slot machine 
revenue that it owed local governments, i.a.w. tribal gaming compacts with the 
State of Michigan. At the time I voted to accept the contract, beyond "gambling 
revenue", I knew nothing about where the 2% money came from, what it was 
supposed to be used for, what strings were attached beyond the contract, or if 
any State controls applied.

Regarding those involved, putting the "deal" together, I assumed, at the time, 
that the project was, primarily, the consequence of the close business 
relationship between Sault Tribal Board Chairman Bernard "Bernie" Bouschor and
First Northern Bank President, Ronald "Ronnie" Ford, with the encouragement of
other community movers and shakers that stood to gain, in some fashion.

At the time, I couldn't imagine that the Sault Tribe had nothing better to do 
with $500,000 of tribal money than to give it to the City of Manistique, for the 
recreational benefit of a few tribal members that might use the facility. In the 
apparent context of a confidence game, it seemed, to me, that the obvious 
Manistique publicity value of the "gift" spin was a "no brainer", regardless of 
the truth of the matter, and City Manager Housler was anyone's ""yup-yup" man", 
and a required partner. It was an easy sell to Manistique.

What I didn't understand was why a $500,000 "gift", that benefited so few Sault 
Tribe members, was acceptable to Bernie Bouschor's political rivals. What I 
didn't know was that the Sault Tribe, in general, benefited by the use of 2% 
funds to purchase benefits for Sault Tribe members. What I didn't know at the 
time, and still don't, was if the money used to purchase the use of the 
recreation building was represented, to the State of Michigan, as 2% money, to 
be distributed to local governments.

What I do not know, is if the apparent, and likely, accounting slight of hand, 
allowed the skimming of $500,000 of Sault Tribe money, for other purposes.

Over the following years, I came to understand the reason and purpose of what 
was referred to as "2% money". I learned to appreciate, first hand, the 
corrupting economic and political influence that is wielded by easy gambling 
money, when it is invested in a local bank presided over by the morally 
bankrupt. I learned what "2% money" buys, when the Sault Tribe chooses the 
government entities, or facilities, that it will support with discretionary "2% 
money", over which it has sole control to determine what "2% money grant" 
request is most deserving, or not.

I learned that nothing in the Tribal Gaming compacts, with the State of 
Michigan, suggest or state that "2% money" is to be used by the Tribe to 
purchase goods and services for tribal members; quite the contrary, the money is 
to be allocated to government entities or non-profit organizations for them to 
spend, as they deem necessary. According to terms of the gaming compact, no 
additional "payback" or "kickback" or "benefits" for Native American casino 
owners is implied, suggested, or required. The gaming compacts hint nothing of 
bribery and blackmail, as a necessary part of qualification for 2% funds.

With the progress of time, the consequences of the corrupt business dealings 
between Bernie and Ronnie severely crippled the bank, and cost Sault Tribe 
members, and other bank investors, a substantial fortune, that few people wish 
to acknowledge, or remember. So why should the financing of Manistique's multi-
purpose recreational building be free of their corrupting influence?

At the Manistique City Council meeting of December 11, 2006, an agenda item 
regarding the multi-purpose recreation building was introduced by City Manager 
Aldrich. After a short discussion, Council voted, unanimously, to approve a 
$75,000 contract with the Sault Tribe, for the Tribe to purchase the use of the 
multi-purpose recreation building for specific periods of time, along with 
other consideration, for five years.

At that televised meeting, the verbally stated source of the funding was the 
tribal-state gaming compact mandated 2% money. No part of the Council approved
written contract indicated the origin of the funds, beyond the Sault Ste. Marie
Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Assuming that Manistique City Council members, and the City Manager, knew what 
they were talking about, AND, assuming my basic understanding of the origin, 
purpose and distribution of "2% money" is correct, why is the Sault Tribe buying 
services, by written contract, for tribal members, with the money bound by the 
state gaming compact to be distributed to local governments, or non-profit 
organizations of its own choosing? Assuming my understanding is correct, why is 
the City of Manistique selling substantial value to receive a "2% money grant", 
that is, by the written terms of the contract, not a grant, but payment for the 
contracted use of recreational facilities, and more?

Who are the current civic leaders and tribal leaders that are so brain-dead, 
from my perspective, that they choose to maintain a decade old perversion, into 
a confidence game, of a relatively benign term of the gaming compacts.

I never read that tribal members purchased the right to hunt with the new law 
enforcement pistols that 2% money purchased for the Schoolcraft County Sheriff 
Department. I never heard that the Sault Tribe purchased the right to use the 
county jail for a pow-wow, because they provided 2% money to help local law 
enforcement. I never read that the Tribe bought the right, with 2% money, to 
change the name of our "Bishop Baraga" park to Ronnie Ford or Bernie Bouscher Park.
I have yet to read of a contract to time share the new public safety pumper truck,
with 2% money. I have no reason to believe that the 2% money that has gone to LSSU, 
Habitat for Humanity or an animal shelter, purchased any entitlement, for any 
tribal members, to periods of free or contracted tuition, room and board, or pet 

So why do I see a process corrupted in 1996, in part due to my ignorance, 
continue to bare the legacy of Ronnie and Bernie's "Creative Accounting 101", 
that gored the community so deeply? Am I a blind ol' geezer, already, whose 
perception of the world is the consequence of little more than senile dementia?

I understand the Manistique City Council approved contract of December 11 as the 
spawn of the 1996 contract, the one I voted for, some 10 years ago. It was 
claimed, at the time, that the one half million dollars was "2% money". Needless 
to say, IF the $500,000 was 2% money, and my current understanding is correct, 
how did the Tribe get to write it off as 2% grant money, when they used it to 
purchase recreational benefits for Sault Tribal members? How will the Sault 
Tribe account for the recent $75,000 of 2% money that it used to purchase 
recreational benefits for Sault Tribe members, for the next five years?

IF that 1996 $500,000 was not 2% money, then my concern is little more than 
knowing, for sure, that it was not credited to the gambling compact mandated 2% 
money allocations, and that $500,000 in real 2% money was distributed; in 
addition to the $500,000 the Sault Tribe used to purchase tribal recreational 
benefits. My same concerns apply to the $75,000 of the December 11, 2006, City 
Council approved contract.

It should be apparent to all, from this rant, that I admit that I was, regarding 
the 1996 contract, too naive and ignorant to understand the details of what I 
consider now, a blatant public confidence game, that I was part of. No other 
public official, in 1996, or later, has expressed any concern, that I am aware 
of, regarding the propriety of the 1996 contract, or the contract approved on 
December 11, 2006. To me, it is as if confidence games are a necessary and 
acceptable local government procedure to achieve political goals, or 
Manistique's elected officials are incapable of learning.

In 1996, I would never have voted, knowingly, to sell, by written contract, the 
use of city recreational facilities for 2% grant money. I would never have been 
part of a confidence game that could enable the Tribe to claim, to the State, 
that it distributed $500,000 in 2% money, if it didn't.

Do I know that the Sault Tribe did claim, to the State of Michigan, that the 
1996 $500,000 contract purchase money was 2% grant money? No I do not. Do I 
"think" they did? Yes, with little doubt. 

I have waited 10 years for the appropriate opportunity to speak and I am more 
than willing to ask, now, the questions that may alleviate any ignorance and 
delusions I may have acquired during that period. I hope the answers I hear make 
more sense than those I heard 10 years ago, and that my speculated "con by 
compact" is nothing more than a figment of my imagination.

To me, the 1996 contract looked like a scam, it smelled like a scam, and, in my 
mouth, it still tastes like a scam. To me, the 2006 contract is no better.

There is a reason for the historical control, by organized crime, of the "vice" 
related businesses of drugs, prostitution and gambling. I have patronized all of 
them, in past lives, and I know of which I speak.

Just in case the Manistique City Council, and City Manager Aldrich, fail to 
understand my concerns, or choose to ignore my concerns; from my perspective, 
the 2% money is legislated unconditional compensation for the local Kewadin 
Casino's impact upon the community's resources and infrastructure, under the 
guise of a "sovereign nation". In return, the Sault Tribe gains a government 
right to victimize local residents by preying upon a facet of basic human 
nature; the perpetual search for pleasure and thrill.

I do not like what I perceive to be the Sault Tribe equivalent of organized 
crime, conspiring with local leaders, to dictate to the non-tribal residents of 
Schoolcraft County what the Tribe will gain, additionally, in return for the 2% 
of net slot revenues that buys their State granted right to victimize 
local residents. The two written contracts are testimony to my claims. They 
stand as testimony to the fact that the Sault Tribe purchased substantial value 
for that which the Sault Tribe, and the City of Manistique, claimed to be 2% 
money grants, as required by the terms of the gaming compacts.

If the purpose of the 2% grants is to provide the Sault Tribe a tax-free means 
to purchase goods and services, for tribal members, then you have my abject 
apology for this public tirade, but, before my apology becomes effective, I will 
need far more reason than the past self-serving and vague public proclamations 
of civic responsibility and Sault Tribe largess.

Part of the gambling wealth generated by preying on productive members of 
society is used to purchase political influence to prey upon them, further. As 
far as I am concerned, the December 11th unanimous vote by Manistique City 
Council, along with the 1996 contract I voted for, were bought by the Sault Ste. 
Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, acting as a criminal enterprise.


The following is quoted from the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians newspaper,
"Win Awenen Nisitotung", dated 01/12/07, page 7, within the article titled
"Saving Anishinabeg Artifacts". I read this, at the breakfast table, on the
morning of 01/15/07, one month after writing the rest of this article.

"Two percent funds are derived from the compact we signed with the State of
Michigan to allow us the right to operate casinos in Michigan. The compact reads
that two percent of the net revenue from the slot machines must be given to
local units of governments. This money must be given freely and accounted for by
the tribe as such.

You have seen the photos in the paper before. It goes for roads, fire trucks,
animal shelters, sports teams and numerous community improvement projects."

I never thought, when I wrote my justified rant, that I would read a plain 
English statement of justification for my ire, from a Sault Tribe source, before
the recent ill conceived agreement was signed by the Mayor of Manistique, Dave
Peterson, and the Sault Tribe Chairman, Aaron Payment.

          Peter Markham"

Since I wrote the first part of the "letter", in 12/12/06, I sought a copy of
the signed 12/11/06 contract from the Manistique City Clerk's office, and from
Manistique City Manager Aldrich. Every time I asked, I was told that the contract
was not confirmed by personnel of the Sault Tribe.

At the Manistique City Council meeting of 02/12/07, under the agenda catchall
heading of "Reports and Communications", City Manager Aldrich announced, as a
simple matter of fact, that the Sault Tribe approved the agreement. No details,
or reference to a signed agreement; little more than might accompany a personal
agreement, sealed with a hand shake, to complete a "done deal", with everyone's
understanding of the terms.

After the meeting was adjourned, I asked City Manager Aldrich where I might get
a copy of the signed contract. With a guilty look on her face, she told me there
was no written signed contract. Assuming I had misunderstood her, I rephrased the
question. Same answer; no written contract.

Paul Olson, wearing his Pioneer Tribune "Ace Reporter" hat, spoke up and asked if
the City had the money. Aldrich said it had. While I was present, I heard no mention of
an amount, at any time, during or after the council meeting, but was informed later
that Aldrich had stated that the City had received $7,500.

I haven't the slightest idea whether the money was a bag of cash, check, casino
tokens, how much, for what, and for whom. The City now has an amount of money,
acquired under mysterious circumstances, vouched for by nothing more than the
empty and vague words of Manistique city officials; that I have learned to distrust.

Regardless of whether new recreational benefits were purchased for Sault Tribe
members, in 2007, by a verbal contract, with current two percent revenues, they
were definitely purchased in 1996, by the terms of a written contract, with money
that may have been for that purpose; or not.

Still, 10 years later, the same old shell game.


During the "Reports and Communications" agenda item, of today's Manistique City
Council meeting, City Manager Sheila Aldrich stated that there were "no strings"
attached to the $75,000 two percent gambling revenue to be used to finish the
kitchen of the multipurpose recreation building. There was no comment by any
council member.

I have no idea what happened to the consideration documented in the contract
signed by Mayor Dave Peterson. Perhaps I imagined all that I wrote of and no
explanation is due, regarding the most recent verbal agreement spoken of this
evening. Why the sudden difference, compared to the last two written versions,
that documented what the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians were purchasing with
the two percent money, instead of distributing, freely?

Would the State of Michigan care to fill in the details, so conveniently
omitted at tonight's council meeting, that changed apparent fraud to
appropriate compensation, by evading the responsibility to state the reasons
for the changes from the documented agreement? Had I not spoken up, would
the residents of Schoolcraft County have to submit to continued bribery, or
blackmail, to get what was due?

How easy it is to maintain the fiction of responsible, moral, ethical and law
abiding officials, by ignoring the details of public responsibility.
 © 2007