Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

TCIG under fire from chief

Evans wants First Nations firm to release documents

  • Print

A First Nations investment firm formed to create wealth for aboriginal people is under fire again, this time from the province's top aboriginal leader.

But the company, Tribal Councils Investment Group (TCIG), says it is the victim of persistent, false rumours and political interference.

"We are doing all the right things," said TCIG president and chief executive officer Allan McLeod. "We operate at the highest levels of corporate accountability and transparency."

Last week, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Ron Evans stepped into a long-percolating dispute over how TCIG is run and how much of the company's profits ought to flow back into struggling reserves.

In a series of letters sent to tribal councils across the province, Evans asked for an independent auditor to review how senior staff and directors at TCIG are paid. He also asked TCIG to suspend McLeod's signing authority over TCIG's bank accounts and repeated a long-standing demand that TCIG provide copies of bylaws, financial statements, investment valuations, board meeting minutes and other documents to shareholders. Evans acted at the direction of an AMC resolution after several chiefs met late last month.

"Assertions were made of 'divide-and-conquer' tactics, false information being presented to tribal council members and/or shareholders with the goal of persuading them to sign certain resolutions and failure to provide full disclosure of internal documents despite repeated requests to do so," wrote Evans in a letter to TCIG after the chiefs' meeting.

The war of words has highlighted the confusing and conflicting network of chiefs who sit on TCIG's board and also make up the AMC and the tribal councils. Some of the same chiefs demanding more accountability from TCIG once sat on the investment group's board and signed several resolutions applauding the way the company was run.

The AMC, the chiefs' primary political organization, has no direct control over TCIG.

The company's shareholders are the seven regional tribal councils. In letters sent to all seven tribal councils last week, Evans asked each one to exercise its shareholder right to demand a TCIG board meeting to consider three motions: one asking for copies of all corporate documents, one asking for an audit of all payments to board members and senior staff and one suspending McLeod's financial control.

But McLeod said some chiefs operate on the false notion that TCIG makes $100 million in profits that it hoards instead of turning it back to tribal council shareholders.

TCIG's annual revenue in 2009 was $76 million, but after the expenses of running several enterprises and paying $770,000 in dividends to the tribal councils, the company's net profits were about $1.3 million. That money is earmarked for investments into new enterprises to allow TCIG to grow.

McLeod accused Evans of seeking to smear TCIG and interfere politically in an independent business. And he said TCIG is bound by a level of corporate confidentiality needed to remain competitive.

Lawyers have been brought in on both sides, and TCIG says it will seek compensation if the company's reputation has been damaged. Late last week, Evans, who would not comment on the disagreement, and McLeod sought a rapprochement.

Some of the province's chiefs and tribal councils say they have been trying for years to get access to financial statements. In 2009, Swampy Cree Tribal Council threatened to sue TCIG because the tribal council said the company refused to provide copies of budgets, strategic plans, bylaws, meeting minutes and more.

maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca

TCIG...

-- was founded in 1990 with $175,000 -- $25,000 from seven tribal councils. Its goal is "to contribute to First Nations' self-sufficiency by generating wealth and being a major player in the Canadian and international economies."

-- has invested in several Manitoba businesses, including Exchange Income Corp. (owner of Perimeter Airlines, Calm Air and Keewatin Airways), Artis REIT and Precambrian Wholesale, which supplies a wide range of dry goods to independent retailers across the North. Arctic Beverages, which bottles and distributes Pepsi products, is probably TCIG's best-known company.

-- has paid out more than $20 million in dividends over the last 20 years to the seven tribal councils.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 12, 2011 B4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Kevin Cheveldayoff announces Maurice contract extension

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A red squirrel peaks out of the shade in a tree in East Fort Garry, Sunday, September 9, 2012. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A goose cools off Thursday in water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google