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By Mike Hudson

A Freedom of Information request to the state Power Authority has revealed that the Tuscarora Nation of Indians did indeed receive a payment of $5 million prior to the signing of the relicensing agreement for the Robert Moses Power Plant, but state officials refused to divulge the name of the individual to whom the check was mailed.

Douglas Anderson, an enrolled member of the Tuscarora Nation, submitted the request that asked whether the $5 million was paid on Dec. 31, 2005, and to whom it was paid. Brian Wilkie, a senior legal analyst with the Power Authority, responded.

Wilkie confirmed that the payment was made two years before the relicensing agreement went into effect, but dodged the question of why it was paid before the agreement was signed. Asked whose bank account the wire transfer was made to on behalf of the Tuscaroras, Wilkie again demurred.

"The bank account number for the Tuscarora Nation has been redacted as disclosure of this information would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy," he wrote.

Since the $5 million is believed to have been transferred to bank accounts controlled by Neil Patterson Sr., Neil Patterson Jr. and Leo Henry, Wilkie's refusal is puzzling.

Is the Power Authority colluding with the illegitimate Tuscarora government to obfuscate the identities of those directly benefitting from the settlement?

While Leo Henry is a sub-chief in the tribe, the Pattersons have no leadership status whatsoever and were in fact turned down this past April when they attempted to become chiefs in a Condolence Ceremony held on the Tonawanda Seneca reservation.

Why was the $5 million paid out prior to the signing of the agreement? Many on the reservation believe it was a payoff to get the leadership to sign off on an environmental impact study mandated in the initial contract but never performed.

Henry and the Pattersons have been known to deny basic human services such as healthcare, and electrical service to Tuscaroras they don't like; profit handsomely from contracts with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Health and Human Services; and cover up both the amount of the Power Authority settlement and what was subsequently done with the money.

Earlier this month, Kendra Winkelstein resigned as tribal attorney in the wake of allegations concerning child sexual abuse on the part of two men who enjoy close relationships with Henry and the Pattersons, and subsequent attempts to intimidate witnesses in the case.

Now, five years after Henry and the Pattersons received their $5 million windfall on behalf of the tribe, Neil Patterson Jr. has announced a tribal meeting, scheduled for Jan. 21, to discuss what to do with excess funds generated through the sale of the one megawatt of power the tribe receives annually under the relicensing agreement.

Presumably not up for discussion is whether that power, meant to benefit all members of the Tuscarora Nation and not just Henry and the Pattersons, should be sold at all, since one megawatt would be enough to provide free power to every household on the reservation, even those currently forbidden by the corrupt leadership from having any power at all.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Dec. 20, 2011