MILWAUKEE (AP) — The National Indian Gaming Commission has proposed fining the St. Croix Chippewa $5.5 million over accusations that the Wisconsin tribe’s leaders pocketed at least $1.5 million in casino funds.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the commission’s chairman, Jonodev Chaudhuri, issued a notice of the proposed fines on Thursday. It comes a month after Chaudhuri charged the tribe with 527 violations of federal and tribal ordinances.
The maximum fine for the alleged violations would be $27.7 million.
Chaudhuri says the tribal leaders’ actions were “egregious” given the tribe’s precarious financial situation. Many members of the Burnett County-based tribe live in poverty.
Regulators say some of the funds were used for trips to Hawaii and Las Vegas.
The tribe can appeal the recommended fine to commissioners.