Appeal denied for tribal leader who accepted Redskins gifts

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An American Indian tribe in Utah won't reinstate a leader ousted from office for accepting gifts from the Washington Redskins.

The Cedar City-based Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah said Tuesday its leadership council has denied an appeal from Gari Lafferty, who lost her position last month after council members said her actions wrongly linked the tribe to the NFL team's divisive name.

Lafferty sought an appeal after the council voted unanimously to remove her due to misconduct and ethical violations for taking an autographed football and a trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a Redskins game last year.

The council cited the tribe's constitution, which states removal decisions are final. There is an exception when the removal's constitutionality is challenged, but the council said Lafferty's appeal did not cite that standard.

Corrina Bow was sworn in as the new chairwoman May 4.

Lafferty and her lawyer did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press.

Lafferty has disputed the misconduct and ethics allegations. She previously told The Associated Press that the council knew about the trip she took to Washington to see the NFL team play, and about the autographed football given to her son-in-law.

Lafferty said team officials never asked her to endorse or advocate the team's name. She got involved with the Redskins' Original Americans Foundation after it sent out a survey asking about tribal needs.

The foundation donated two vans to the southern Utah tribe. The vehicles are used as transportation for children and elders because many members don't have cars, Lafferty said.

She also has contended the allegations were related to her leadership style and her suggestion that council members have term limits.

The council said in a statement that it "acted fairly and reasonably, and in conformance with the removal process under the Tribe's Constitution."

Jeanine Borchardt served as interim chairwoman and voiced support for Lafferty's ouster in a letter to tribal members.

"Removal of the tribal chairwoman based upon her violations of the Tribe's Ethics Ordinance, its Standards of Conduct, and most importantly, its Constitution, ensures that those laws have meaning, and that elected tribal leaders will be held accountable for their actions," Borchardt wrote.

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