Local News

Lumbees shift money into travel budget

Posted June 20, 2008 5:40 p.m. EDT

— Lumbee Tribal Council leaders have voted to add $45,000 to their travel budget, despite a nearly $2 million shortfall in housing funds.

The move comes weeks after a WRAL investigation into what some critics say is questionable spending by the tribe on several trips, including one to Hawaii.

Ten tribal council members attended an Indian education conference last October at the four-star Hilton hotel on Waikiki Beach. In addition to travel, hotel and meal expenses, registration for the conference cost the tribe $4,000.

Credit card statements provided by a council member who asked to remain anonymous show that tribal officials also have traveled to Albuquerque, N.M., San Antonio, Texas, and Alaska in the past year. This month, several council members attended a convention in Reno, Nev., despite a depleted annual travel budget.

The trips were paid for with money the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development gives to the tribe each year. Meanwhile, critics say, many Lumbees live in substandard housing.Lu