Swett quits chairmanship

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Shiles, Bob. "Swett quits chairmanship. " Robesonian [Lumberton, NC] May 13, 2011.


Tribal Chairman Purnell Swett of the Lumbee tribal government, citing health reasons. His resignation was effective on May 23, 2011.

“Having spent much of my adult life serving the people of this area, especially my people, the Lumbee, I believe it is time for me to step aside and allow others to assume a leadership role. I knew when I ran for tribal chairman that the road ahead would be difficult,” Swett said in his brief resignation letter. “At the time, I was not fully aware of my true health status. Presently, the stress of my current position is becoming overwhelming."

The letter did not address the HUD allegations. The Tribal Council faces a 30-day deadline to respond to the findings of an unannounced on-site review of tribal finances. According to the report, the audit was made after a series of complaints and concerns were raised about financial management and use of HUD housing money.

This is the second time Swett has resigned from a high-profile public office amid allegations of financial mismanagement. In 1997, as the superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County, Swett pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of misprision.

The day-to-day administration of the tribe's governance became the responsibility of Sharon Hunt, the tribe's vice chairwoman. Hunt will hold the leadership position until a special election is held to elect Swett's successor.

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