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Mescalero Apache Tribe, Arizona

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Carleton Palmer, a frequent and vocal critic, has been subpoenaed to appear before the tribal council to substantiate his allegations of government impropriety. Palmer was an unsuccessful candidate for tribal president last year. Palmer is part of a group which said it is close to getting petition signatures to force a recall election for Tribal President Sara Misquez. Palmer has alleged half of the 10-member council has conflicts of interest because they work for the BIA's Mescalero Agency. The agency manager's wife, Dorlyn Simmons, is council secretary. Arthur "Butch" Blazer, Christie LaPas, Berle Kanseah, Sandra Platero and Gregory Mendez are BIA employees. Simmons is employed by Indian Health Services. LaPas denied any conflict of interest. A BIA officer said bureau employees who seek tribal office must be cleared by a government ethics officer. Tribal government has been engulfed in turmoil and internal fighting since the death of longtime former President Wendell Chino. Misquez, tribal administrator under Chino, was installed as president in May 1999 following the ouster of then-president Paul Ortega amid allegations of fiscal mismanagement. No criminal charges were brought against Ortega. Misquez won a special election in August 1999 and a general election in November to head the 3,700-member tribe.

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