SIX NATIONS – A leave for a class-action lawsuit filed against the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) by William Monture and Wilfred Davey is back in court on Monday, April 10, at a Hamilton, Ont. courthouse.
The two members of the Men’s Fire are hoping the court will allow the Six Nations community at large to see a much more detailed financial report than those posted on the HDI’s website, which were formulated using numbers submitted by the HDI themselves and not vetted.
It has been made known to the public that the Six Nations Elected Band Council is a registered Canadian corporation. Some of the public is even aware the HDI is a registered numbered corporation too. But how many people know the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) is also a registered numbered corporation? Additionally, the Chiefs and their traditional titles are named in the registration document as shareholders in these corporations.
The men want to make public that, it appears unbeknownst to most of the chiefs that their traditional titles are named as shareholders of that numbered Canadian corporation, as set up by HDI legal advisor, or legal representative, lawyer Aaron Detlor.
According to court submitted documents brought by Detlor, “The board [of this corporation] holds 50 equitable non-transferable shares in trust for the Haudenosaunee through the Whiskniyonwenstake Rotionisorh (HCCC).”
But there are not 50 sitting chiefs. Detlor and the HDI have submit to the court all 50 titles and the clans they represent, but almost half of those names submitted are either deceased or the titles remain empty. Other “live” sitting chiefs have been asked by the men’s fire if they knew they were named as shareholders in a registered Canadian corporation. “Most contacted to date have said ‘no’ they were not aware of it at all,” said Davey. The Board of Directors for the HCCC Corporation, as submitted, includes President Brian Doolittle, Secretary Aaron Detlor and Administration CEO and Director Hazel E. Hill.
A document dated October 20, 2014 and signed by Director of the HDI, Hazel Hill states: “In Consideration of the sum of $1.00 now paid to the undersigned and for other good and valuable consideration (the receipt and sufficiency of which is acknowledged), the undersigned, declares that 50 common shares (the “Shares”) in the capital of 2438543 Ontario Inc. (the Corporation”) registered in the name of the undersigned, in trust on the books of the Corporation, and all moneys, shares and other property which may have been payable in respect of the Shares, whether by way of dividend or capital distributions or otherwise howsoever, and all of the benefits pertaining to the Shares are held by the undersigned in trust for the Whiskniyonwensyake Rotionisonh (HCCC of the Grand River) as set out in schedule “A” attached (the “Beneficiary”) and that the undersigned will convey, transfer, deal with or otherwise dispose of the Shares and any income or capital paid in respect to them, and any other benefits pertaining to them in such manner as the Beneficiary shall from time to time direct.
The provisions of this Declaration are binding on the undersigned, and the successors and assigns of the undersigned, and enure (sic) to the benefit of the Beneficiary and the heirs, legal personal representatives, successors and assigns of the Beneficiary.
There are also questions about the second corporation known as OGWAWISTA INC. SC file No 1-58391, which has the same board of directors but adds Elvira Garlow to that number.
These and other allegations made have not been proven and will be tested in Hamilton court, should the leave for class action be granted. Detlor, who is referred to as a “representative” of the HDI, submitted an expense bill to the Ontario Energy Board for $41,791.00 plus $1,566 in travel with the cheque to be made payable to R. Aaron Detlor. Among other things, the class action wants the HDI and Aaron Detlor to reveal any proof that, in fact, Detlor has any supporting documents that would balance with the Ontario Energy Board payout and confirm Detlor actually attended all 11 meetings he submitted expenses for.
The reason for the scepticism comes from allegations made by a former First Nations client community that Detlor may have over charged them and even triple or quadruple charged the government on other similar energy related meetings. These allegations have not been brought to court but are documented.
According to Monture and Davey, “People tell us that they have tried to get information from the HDI only to be straight-armed or simply told no. Yet they talk about how transparent they are.”
The HDI insists it is transparent to the community by giving reports to the Chiefs once a month at Council, and if anyone wants to know, they should attend. However, protocol prevents members of the public from questioning anything in these reports, in the Longhouse. The men say they too have tried every way imaginable to get HDI to release to the public whatever the public demands before resorting to the class-action suit.
“Anyone can still join us in this suit as we move forward,” said Davey.
The men say that if the court allows the motion to continue, as much as $55 million would be frozen until a new more transparent HDI, with new directors representing the entire community, can be built. The men explain that no one involved in their class action would receive a dime individually; however, the money will be channelled into a new trust fund.
“It’s for the people we are doing this and we are ecstatic that this is getting attention,” Davey adds. “It’s gratifying that all the research we have been doing is going to be looked at.” They also want the community to openly see the details surrounding any and all deals made between the HDI and anyone else.
Documents shared with the Two Row Times have raised a number of serious questions about how much is being made through the HDI’s business dealings, exactly how it is being spent with specific details including who is being paid what for what service and how much, if anything, these deals will cost future generations.
Lynda Powless, a media advisor, responded to the Two Row Times’ request for information with a quote from Hazel Hill: “2438543 Ontario Inc. is the vehicle used by the HCCC to buy shares of the Veresen Grand Valley Wind Farm and to purchase land to return to the Haudenosaunee and build on our land base.
The Ogwa whista de dwa snye is the corporation that was established by a new finance committee to oversee HCCC revenues and the distribution to the community that happens annually.
For example last April the HCCC donated more than $900,000 to a variety of community ventures from language programs, to day care and others and invested in our environment as a shareholder in a recycling program on Six Nations to encourage less waste, and assist with the landfill site crisis we are in,” Hazel Hill executive director of the HDI. These and other allegations named in the class action have not yet been proven in court.