Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lower Brule and Human Rights Watch

The following is reprinted from 2009.   The great work done by the Human Rights Watch on the criminal conduct toward the Lower Brule citizens is one small step in Indian Country and unfortunately HRW does not have the resources to do this great work on Tribal Council conduct on reservations from Montana to Wisconsin.   In my short 20 years of experience working in Indian Country and having lived across Indian Country since 1965 this goes on in the majority of reservations.  Yes, majority, not minority.   Believe it.

 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

There are many questions that Lower Brule Sioux tribal members need to be asking. Here's some for the Lower Brule Sioux membership to bring to the next Council meeting.

What independent firm or advisory shop did the due diligence on the Westrock transaction? What is the experience of the firm that did the due diligence? What were the terms of the transaction? How do we know we got the best price for the Tribe? How was the deal structured? If the deal was purportedly in the works for three years did we or did we not "pay up" for the "new" institutional trading desk and asset management unit that was started a month ago? Why did we a buy a small Broker-Dealer based in New York instead of conducting a national search for available Broker-Dealers to buy? What ramifications will there be with insurance issues of owning a Broker-Dealer? Where will FINRA suits come into play against the firm and the Tribe with tribal sovereignty issues? Did the Tribe consider a joint venture with another Sioux tribe to cut in half the risk of the investment and further diversify into other business lines? Did the Tribe speak to the professionals at First Nations Development Institue for help on the deal? Who is looking after our investment that is independent and unbiased and A)understands the securities business B) understands the institutional trading business and C) understands the asset managment business or do we simply rely on what we are told by Westrock? What is the compliance record of Westrock with FINRA and the SEC? Given that most retail brokers gross production levels are off significantly from 2007 after the 2008 financial debacle did we agree to lower price terms over the course of the negotiations or did we wind up paying top doller for this revenue stream? What liabilities, if any, did we inherit upon closing? How can this acquisition help ALL of the Lower Brule Sioux tribal membership and why is the Tribe using brokers to help tribal members when they probably should be using fiduciaries like Registered Investment Advisory firms instead of salesmen-brokers to cut trading costs and commissions for tribal members. There are many reasons that Lower Brule Sioux Tribal members need to be careful in who they entrust their hard-earned assets.

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