Quapaw Kicks Former Chairman Off Ballot

Quapaw Kicks Former Chairman Off Ballot
John Berrey (file) (Wesley Hitt)

The Quapaw Nation Business Committee voted Thursday to kick off the ballot John L. Berrey, the former longtime chairman who is facing criminal charges for abuse of office, conspiracy and embezzlement.

He was a candidate for vice chairman of the tribe, which owns the Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff.

The committee’s vote was unanimous; Vice-Chairwoman Callie Bowden abstained.

Berrey faces 11 criminal charges and four civil complaints in Quapaw Nation tribal court. The charges were filed in April.

The tribe, which he led for more than 20 years, said registered voters challenged Berrey’s candidacy partly based on the pending charges, including that he would not fulfill his oath of office if elected. They also alleged that Berrey committed treason against the tribe when he filed now-dismissed defamation charges in non-tribal court in reaction to the charges against him.

The Quapaw Nation Election Committee had determined Berrey was eligible for candidacy, but it does not consider citizen complaints beyond simple eligibility. The election committee’s decision was appealed to the business committee, which overturned it.

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