First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON - The North Carolina Indian Housing Authority is back in court today in its ongoing civil lawsuit against the Lumbee Tribal Council.
The council had voted on March 15 to settle the lawsuit, but a lawyer for the Housing Authority says the tribe hasn't paid the full amount it agreed to. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
The trial was expected to begin on Monday, but the start was delayed until this morning.
The Housing Authority is suing the tribe over management of apartments in Cumberland, Hoke and Robeson counties. The authority filed the lawsuit in January after it said tribal officials trespassed onto the property.
Neil Yarborough, the lawyer for the authority, also is asking that the tribe pay lawyer and court reporter fees that were incurred March 10 when tribal officials failed to show up for depositions in the case.
Yarborough has been seeking information about the tribe's operating and accounting procedures, federal grants and loans, tribal programs, personnel policies and actions regarding the Housing Authority.
The Tribal Council voted in April 2004 to take over ownership of Red Hill apartments in Maxton, Heritage Haven in Fairmont, Hawkeye Sands in Raeford and Eagles Nest in Fayetteville.
The tribe gets more than $800,000 a year in federal money to use for maintenance and operation costs. Tribal officials have said it would be cheaper to own the property.
In December, tribal officials tried to take over management of the apartments. Yarborough wrote to tribal administrators, saying they could face trespassing charges if they were on the property.
The Housing Authority obtained a restraining order against the tribe in January after the tribe tried to take over maintenance of the units.