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Sat Feb 25, 2012, 05:44 PM

Court documents outline alleged embezzlement from Yurok Tribe

Court documents outline how three biologists allegedly used an elaborate system of fake invoices, false purchase requests and electronic bank transfers to embezzle more than $900,000 from the Yurok Tribe during a three-year period.

Officials with the Del Norte County District Attorney's Office traveled to Eureka on Thursday to execute three $1 million arrest warrants for suspects Sean McAllister, Ron LeValley and Roland Raymond. The men are accused of burglary, embezzlement and conspiracy to commit a crime.

McAllister, 45, an associate biologist with the Eureka-based Mad River Biologists, was arrested Thursday while at work. LeValley, 65, a senior biologist and founder of the business, was arrested Thursday night after turning himself in to Del Norte County officials. Raymond, 49, the former Yurok Tribe forestry director, was still at-large Friday night.

Members of the community expressed shock Thursday and Friday after learning Raymond, McAllister and LeValley were being sought or were arrested on the warrants. Biologists praised McAllister's and LeValley's work, stating they were well respected in their field. Raymond was named director of the year in 2009, according to a Yurok tribal newsletter called “The Voice of the Yurok People.”

http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_20043580

Everyone in the environmental and birding communities in Northern California knows these people. This is a SHOCKER.

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Response to XemaSab (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 10:59 PM

1. I am acquainted with Raymond and LeValley too.

I just got off the phone with the former Yurok Tribal Chairman. He said they raided Raymond's home and found another $600,000 worth of stolen equipment. Raymond is no where to be found.

I worked for the Yuroks back in 2003, live on the Klamath about 14 miles from the Reservation, and am very familiar with the timber industry and local Tribes (Karuk, Hupa, Yurok).

On at least 10 occasions in 2003, I saw two log trucks go by my place at night with 3 to 5 log loads with no log brands nor trip ticket; same trucking company and haul route as the trucks during the day that had brands and trip tickets off the Yurok Reservation. I reported the apparent log theft to my supervisor (Director of Planning) who told me to mind my own business. She did not like me as I was imposed by above and there was a professional and personality conflict (what is funny is that I googled my great grandfather's last name and up came her ancestory.com and I doubt if there were more than one of an unusual name born in Oakland, CA in 1870 so her kids and husband share my DNA). I ended up being offered and refusing the job (with a raise) as Ex Director of the Tribe's Economic Development Corporation where I would have dealt with her as an equal but refused. It was the most toxic work environment I ever experienced.

Howard told me he would tell current Chairman O'Rourke my observations back in 2003 and we shared a laugh about Peggy.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 26, 2012, 03:06 PM

4. Harsh comment from that blog:

"I think everyone who this company has done surveys for including the city of Arcata, the California Coastal Commission and the counties of Humboldt and Mendocino should take a close look at their work. Of course these people are innocent until proven guilty, but if they are guilty then all of their work must be suspect. In the case of the Bear River project, we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars."

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Response to XemaSab (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2012, 01:22 AM

3. It's always the people you least expect

What a mess.

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Response to XemaSab (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2012, 07:02 PM

5. WOW CJ Ralph went way overboard in support of the accused in the T-S

Last edited Sun Feb 26, 2012, 08:45 PM - Edit history (1)

When news spread Thursday that a pair of respected Eureka biologists were arrested for their alleged roles in an elaborate embezzlement scheme, the reaction was stunned disbelief.

Many in the biology community contacted on Friday -- before information contained in the search warrant affidavits outlining the investigation was reported in the Times-Standard -- declined to comment for this story, saying they didn't want to get involved and preferred to let the legal process run its course.

All, however, said the two men's reputations are beyond reproach.

”With all the work they have done over many years -- and Mad River Biologists has set a very high standard for intellectual and financial integrity -- I have no doubt that when this finishes up, they will be found not to have done anything wrong,” said C.J. Ralph, a research scientist with the U.S. Forest Service

http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_20048801

CJ Ralph of Redwood Science Lab is the best avian biologist and most published I have ever met.

For the birders at DU:

I was a cooperator in providing two land bird monitoring sites with the RWSL and CJ between 1991 and 2002. There was a series of plots in the California and Oregon Klamath Basin from 1992 to 2003 when defunded under GWB. I believe they were the most intensely studied sites in the USA. There use to be a web site link at Redwood Science Lab but it seems to be gone. There was one other small private land owner and the rest of sites were either Federal or timber industry. Kim Hollinger was project manager. Mad River Biology may have done some of the sampling under contract but I am not certain. I lived in Corvallis, OR and Redding, CA during this period.

They used constant-effort mist netting, point count, and area search censusing. In the breeding season (May 1 - Aug 15) the stations were sampled every 10 days and during the migration season (Aug 16-Oct 31) every week.

Each plot was essentially a system of trails and 10 small clearing sampling stations marked by rebar in the riparian and adjacent forest habitat. Aside: Several times folks thought the plots were old pot grows and moved in in early Spring before the birders. lol If anyone is familiar with this project, I am referring to the CAMP and LADY plots (this is the edit).

Conclusion: These two stations are among the most productive sites in northwestern California. The juxtaposition of the river riparian forest with agriculture lands seems to provide an optimum mix of habitat for many species of birds. It is likely to be essential for maintaining this diversity of birds, that the present mix of habitats be maintained and or enhanced. If at all possible, an increase in the area of riparian forest would the most positive impact overall, especially the the endangered listed species, the Willow Flycatcher's exceptionally high use.

Note: the 4 paragraphs about are a distillation from a private Ralph and Hollinger report that are public record as part of CA Timber Harvest Plan I filed and logged in 2001.

In 2002 a fire set in the area Karuk World Renewal Ceremony / pichi 'avich dance area jumped the creek and burned black the most avian diverse plot of any of the system of plots established under the project in the Klamath Basin in CA and OR. I had just made a leisurely trip from Redding and down the Salmon River with a gf only to see a mass of USFS, Karuk, and Humboldt Sheriff's vehicles on my property plus a bunch of smoke. They let me drive through (because they knew me) only to meet up with a Karuk DNR employee watching the fire that said it was a "good thing" and then kicked me off my own property after I told him essentially he was an idiot. I went to the Humboldt Deputy and asked the young man be removed. About an hour later the Karuk DNR manager brought the man back and introduced us and had him apologize to me.

Since the end of the Jessie short case and division of the Hoopa Reservation into a Hupa and Yurok Reservations and recognition of the Karuk Tribe there has been amazing improvement in the housing, health, education, employment for the Indian People' s. Alas, there is much croneyism, ugly politics, and I am certain other crimes have been committed with the Tribes even if this crime is dis-proved. TMI.

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Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 02:34 AM

7. CJ's a great guy

I would have said that Ron was a great guy too, though.

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Response to XemaSab (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2012, 08:27 PM

6. I cross posted a link to this thread to the Native American Group which is essentially dead. nt

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Response to XemaSab (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 01:35 PM

8. Update in T-S and link to letter from Yurok Tribe to Tribal Members

Letter from Yurok Tribe says it's outraged by alleged embezzlement; will add additional positions to oversee finances

Megan Hansen/The Times-Standardtimes-standard.com/
Posted: 02/28/2012 02:05:30 AM PST

Members of the Yurok Tribal Council have expressed “great disappointment and outrage” that more than $900,000 was allegedly embezzled from the tribe by a former tribal employee and two conspirators.

Former Yurok Tribe Forestry Director Roland Raymond, 49, has been wanted since last Thursday on a $1 million warrant issued by Del Norte County Superior Court Judge William Follett, according to the Del Norte County District Attorney's Office.

Raymond is wanted on suspicion of burglary, embezzlement and conspiracy to commit a crime. Law enforcement officials said he was still at large on Monday.

A letter recently mailed out by Yurok Tribe Chairman Thomas O'Rourke Sr. on behalf of the Yurok Tribal Council alerts tribal members to the alleged embezzlement and promises more information will be forthcoming as it becomes available.

http://www.times-standard.com/ci_20060142?source=most_viewed

http://extras.times-standard.com/multimedia/pdfs/YrkTrb_ltr2.pdf

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Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 01:40 PM

9. Here's the affidavit:

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 02:24 PM

10. I know two of the five prosecution witnesses. nt

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Response to XemaSab (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 02:30 PM

11. what we have here is a parsing problem: mad (river (biologists))

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Response to XemaSab (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 02:53 PM

12. USDA $4.5 Million Biomass Energy Grant to Yurok and Hupa Tribes of 2009

The Feds and DAs should maybe look at this project.

http://www.fs.fed.us/arra/arra-biomass-projects-090611.pdf

Scroll down to California and the two grants to the Tribes and to Blue Lake Power LLC.

Blue Lake Power is in Humboldt (not Shasta) county and is to be the market for the forest waste. (Aside: my great great and great grandparents are buried n the Blue Lake cemetary and my mother and grandmother born in Blue Lake)

Problem: My informed opinion is that wood fuel cannot be produced and delivered to Blue Lake from either Reservation at other than at a highly subsidized cost because of the trucking distance and production costs of wood fuel for the power plant to show profit.

Back in 2009, the former Yurok Tribal Chairman and an ex-Yurok Executive Director and myself were offered part ownership in a start up Indian-owned firm (I am not Indian).

We had reason to investigate these grants and I gathered info from Hupa Forestry and the US Forest Service and Lori did from the Yurok Tribe side.

These grants are not the specific reason but Lori and I and Howard at our suggestion decided we did not want to be involved with the principal (a non-local Indian)and opted out of the arrangement.

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