Tribe Known for Shady Bookkeeping Can’t Account for $14 Mil in FEMA Flood Grants


Though its accounting system is “unreliable” and in “disarray,” a Nebraska Indian tribe got nearly $14 million in flood-assistance grants from the federal government and, predictably, a chunk of the money can’t be accounted for. The taxpayer funds flowed to the Omaha Tribe despite a long history of poor record-keeping that resulted in sanctions by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which operates under the Department of the Interior. Now a federal auditdescribes the tribe’s mishandling of the emergency money as “serious and pervasive.” The audit also blasts the tribe for “contracting with itself” to generate “artificial profits” to fabricate mandatory matching funds.

Despite the tribe’s shady accounting practices, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) doled out the money after the 2011 flooding of the Missouri River. Parts of the Midwest were devastated by the catastrophic flooding, which caused billions of dollars in damages, including the destruction of highways and flooding of thousands of homes. The disaster occurred after torrential rains stressed the main stream dams. In a federal lawsuit against the government hundreds of landowners assert that the Army Corp of Engineers could have avoided the disaster if flood control had been a priority, according to a local news report about the case. In the flood’s aftermath, FEMA distributed nearly $22 billion in assistance grants, agency figures show, including $3.1 billion to individuals and households.


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