QUAPAW, Okla. – Former Quapaw Chairman John Berrey was once again determined to be ineligible to run for the tribe’s highest post.
The Quapaw Nation posted on its website on Friday the Business Committee’s Final Determination summary detailing its decision regarding Berrey.
“They are just making a circus out of our tribe,” Berrey said. “I am going to run for Chairman and I don’t care what they say.”
The election to fill the vacant seat is set for July 8, he said.
Berrey said he plans to ask the Quapaw Nation General Council to decide if he can run for Chairman if the decision by the Business Committee was correct.
They will meet on July 4, he said.
The issue before the Quapaw Nation Business Committee was not whether Berrey met the minimum requirements for candidacy but whether to agree with the Election Committee’s decision allowing Berrey to continue as a candidate in this upcoming election, or overturn that decision and remove Berrey as a candidate, according to the Business Committee’s Final Determination three-page summary.
When the dust settled, the Business Committee overturned the Election Committee’s decision saying it violated the precedent set by the Business Committee’s 2021 decision finding Berrey ineligible for membership to the Business Committee.
In that election, Berrey was disqualified as a candidate in the vice-chairman race based on the complaints filed in Quapaw Nation Court accusing him of misappropriation of funds.
Berrey faces 11 criminal counts in tribal court where he is accused of embezzling money from the tribe. These allegations led to the suspension of Berrey’s license issued by the Quapaw Nation Gaming Agency.
Berrey was declared unsuitable for candidacy to the Quapaw Nation Business Committee.
In April, Berrey announced his intention to run for Chairman after former Quapaw Chairman Joseph Byrd resigned amidst a recall petition. The petition was filed to oust Byrd from office and cited a list of grievances against Byrd including failure to attend tribal meetings.
Berrey received two challenges contesting his candidacy and he was required to submit a response to those challenges to the Election Committee.
Berry said he has never received a letter notifying him of the challenges.
Since the Election Committee took no action and ruled Berrey eligible, the challenging parties appealed the Election Committee’s decision to the Business Committee.
“The facts and circumstances related to Berrey’s candidacy for Chair, as they exist in 2023, still render him unable to fulfill his duties and uphold his oath to the Nation if elected,” according to the Business Committee’s Final Determination.