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Tribal council votes to impeach chief of Cherokee’s Eastern Band
Friday, 02 June 2017 10:58

From Staff Reports

CHEROKEE — After four days of testimony, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council voted 9-3 on May 25 to impeach Principal Chief Patrick Lambert.

The action marked only the second time — since the early 1800s — that the tribe has forced a chief from office.

Facing 12 articles of impeachment, Lambert was found guilty of eight and not guilty of four. Only one guilty verdict was needed in order to impeach the chief, according to the rules of the special impeachment hearing.

A majority of council members believed that Lambert violated hiring practices, made business contracts inappropriately and acted to benefit himself.

Thoughout the proceedings, Lambert denied all charges, calling them tantamount to a political witch hunt.

After the vote to oust him from office, Lambert addressed 15 of his supporters, who marched out of the courtroom after the impeachment vote. They also vented their ire that Vice Chief Richard Sneed appeared to be rushed to the courtroom to be sworn into office as the new principal chief immediately after the vote.

“Those nine just overruled 71 percent of this tribe,” Lambert told his supporters, according to a report from Asheville’s WLOS-TV. “What we saw in there, as well, was those nine trying to swear in a new chief. However, that new chief would not allow the people to speak.”

Lambert’s supporters said he was just trying to clean up fraud and corruption.

“He’s not trying to make no money,” Barbara Wouldroup told WLOS. “He’s not trying to do anything, but just help everybody.”

A new vice chief will be chosen from the tribal council’s ranks after Memorial Day.



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