Kerry Holton stands in front of a portrait of his ancestor, the Delaware leader Black Beaver.

Kerry Holton stands in front of a portrait of his ancestor, the Delaware leader Black Beaver.

Delaware Nation President and Executive Committee Members in Dispute Over Removal Vote

Members of the Delaware Nation Executive Committee voted to remove their President, Kerry Holton, from office on June 21. Holton has served as the Oklahoma-based Delaware Nation President since 2006.

When Indian Country Today Media Network placed calls to the tribal complex as to the reasons for Holton’s removal, the tribal administrator’s office said that attorney Leslie Taylor would speak on the executive committee’s behalf. Although Taylor, who also serves as the executive committee secretary, agreed to speak with ICTMN, no statement had been issued by press time after repeated calls to both Taylor and the tribal complex.

Holton spoke at length concerning the events of June 21, citing the primary reason for the executive committee’s action was his request for an investigation and audit of Delaware Nation Developers, a two-year-old company owned by Delaware Nation, and its alleged misuse of an American Express credit card account. Overall, Holton centers his allegations toward Delaware Nation Treasurer, Clifford Peacock.

“It is simply a farce,” Holton said. “They haven’t done [the removal from office] as it should be done. Certainly, there would have to be some substantiated charges, which they have not provided. Basically, what’s happening is that this is going to turn into a lawsuit and a whole bunch of other stuff associated from it. It certainly isn’t stopping me from proceeding to get an investigation and an audit into the construction company and some of the activity that’s been going on with Delaware Nation Developers and a company, Peacock Construction’s involvement, who is owned by the Treasurer of the Nation.”

Holton also said that the Delaware Nation Constitution was not followed in the executive committee’s vote for removal.

“First of all, there’s got to be a removal ordinance,” said Holton about the removal procedure. “There is not one that’s been enacted. There’s been one sitting, waiting to be enacted, and it was taken up at the end of last year. It was never enacted. It’s still sitting on the shelf and waiting to be brought to the floor and made into law. Right now, there is no removal ordinance, so there’s no removal procedure. In this particular instance, what happened on [June 21], for lack of a better word, it was a kangaroo court. That’s really what it was. No one provided me with any evidence, no sworn testimony or anything that substantiated any charge whatsoever. There was no way to defend yourself, and there was actually no procedures. No one was allowing a due process to happen.”

Although Holton said the Delaware Nation has its own court system, he is considering filing in federal court due to what he said were civil rights violations. According to Holton, the executive committee also admitted there was no removal of ordinance enacted on their part.

Holton said that the situation between him and the other members of the executive committee would take no longer than one month in the courts.

“I believe that it will be resolved within a month as far as courts stepping in and rectifying the situation,” said Holton. “Hopefully, the individuals that have done this activity in violation of the Constitution realize the error of their ways and want to settle this and rectify it just as I do and get back to making the Nation whole and complete and operating as well as it can be operated.”

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