Ousted Mille Lacs leader to challenge removal
Melanie Benjamin says she will fight her removal as chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe of Minnesota.

Benjamin, who held the job since 2000, believes her removal was unlawful. She said she was in the process of challenging a removal petition in tribal court when the tribe's assembly ousted her on Wednesday.

"I have never improperly taken anything from the Band, any other entity or anyone else. In time, the truth will come out," she said in a statement. "In the meantime, I will continue to fight this lawless takeover."

Rjay Brunkow, the tribe's solicitor general, said an investigation discovered Benjamin used tribal funds for person use. Another investigation related to casino benefits is pending, he said.

Benjamin's removal is the first in the tribe's history, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Get the Story:
Mille Lacs stands by decision on ousted executive (Minnesota Public Radio 10/9)
Tribe: Benjamin removed for improper spending (AP 10/9)

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Mille Lacs Ojibwe leader removed from office (10/9)
Mille Lacs Band to consider removal of top leader (10/1)