3 tribal officials in ND took kickbacks from contractor, charges say

BISMARCK — Three tribal officials allegedly accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks from a contractor doing work on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, according to criminal complaints released this week.

Beginning in 2013 and continuing through 2020, Randall Phelan, a member of the Tribal Business Council, and Delvin Reeves, a paid government employee of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, used their positions to help the contractor’s business by awarding contracts and facilitating the payment of fraudulent invoices, among other allegations, according to an affidavit in support of the complaints.

A former Tribal Business Council representative, Frank Grady, allegedly solicited and accepted bribes January 2016 through September 2017.

The three defendants were each charged in federal court in the District of North Dakota with one count of conspiracy and one count of federal programs bribery.

MHA Nation wrote in a statement that it has been cooperating with the FBI investigation for more than a year and has provided more than 13,000 pages of documents to investigators.