HORTON, Kan. - Kickapoo Nation District Judge Peter Beekman insists his orders to remove the tribal chairman and vice chairwoman pertained to only ceremonial positions on the council.
"I didn't order the removal of Mr. (Steve) Cadue and Ms. (Thelma) Simon from the tribal council. My order specifically said they weren't being removed from the tribal council, I only removed them from their ceremonial positions on the tribal council," Beekman said regarding recent reports he had removed them from the tribal council.
During an interview May 22, Beekman was referred to an earlier court order, which removed Simon and Cadue from their offices as chairman and vice-chairwoman, but allowed them to stay on the tribal council.
Judge Beekman said the Associated Press reports that appeared in the media and in Indian Country Today the week of May 15 concerning removal of Cadue and Simon from the council were "totally wrong" and he wanted to set the record straight.
Although Beekman levied fines against Cadue and Simon for contempt May 16 for continuing to represent themselves as the chairman and vice chairwoman, he said it was a panel of the Kickapoo Tribal Council, not the court, which removed them from the council.
May 5 administrative proceedings, received from the Kickapoo Tribal Council, state that Thelma Simon and Steve Cadue have both been removed from their elected offices on the Kickapoo Tribal Council by an administrative panel consisting of Bobbie Darnell, Nancy Bear, Bernadette Thomas, John Thomas and Norene Negonsott. Neither Cadue nor Simon was present before the panel May 5.
Simon contends she was not properly served with a notice of the hearing and states she is the legal vice chairwoman of the Kickapoo Nation. Simon is not only angry with the Kickapoo Tribal Council, she said Beekman violated her civil rights in the ongoing battle between Kickapoo tribal council members.
"I am very angered and I am tired of Judge Beekman violating my civil rights as an elected leader for the nation," she said in an interview. "I am also tired of him violating the entire membership who exercised their right to vote in October '99, their civil rights. I am Judge Beekman's direct supervisor. I feel that he is insubordinate as an employee of the nation and also he has violated every code of ethics he needs to adhere to as an attorney and a judge."
Simon and Cadue face fines for continuing to represent themselves as officers of the tribal council. She is being fined $200 for a signing an April 3 letter to U.S. Attorney Janet Reno as vice chairwoman and has been ordered - in Kickapoo District Court - to pay $25 per day starting May 16 for her continuing acts of contempt until she appears before the court and apologizes for her actions. She was fined an additional, conditional fine of $1,000 for each violation after May 16.
"There was a lot of personal gain for Judge Beekman when he demanded that we form a quorum and pass the 2000 budget. Judge Beekman had not received any payroll because there was not a 2000 budget signed," Simon said. "I will not pay any fines and I will not appear before the Kickapoo District Court and apologize for anything. I am still the vice chairman of the Kickapoo Tribe. My term does not expire until October of 2001."
Judge Beekman flatly denies the charges saying, "They are untrue".
In the meantime Acting-Vice Chairwoman Nancy Bear said the council will replace Cadue and Simon by looking at results of the October 1999 election and interviewing the two candidates in the October 1999 election who had the next highest number of votes. She was unsure of how long the process would take, but said it was possible that the tribal council could be back up to seven members within 30 days.