Tribal court returns votes to Townsend

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Shiles, Bob. “Tribal court returns votes to Townsend.” The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC) January 22, 2016. 


The Lumbee Supreme Court declared that Lumbee Tribal Council member Larry Townsend did not violate the Ethics Ordinance and should not have had his voting rights restricted, as the sanctions were imposed unjustly.

Townsend, who had his voting rights removed on conflict-of-interest accusations, said that the problem was actually with the different personalities on the council. He petitioned the Lumbee Supreme Court on October 30, 2015 for his voting rights to be reinstated.

The Lumbee Tribal Council stated that the supposed conflict-of-interest was Townsend’s wife Rose Marie Lowry-Townsend, who works as the Lumbee tribe’s director of youth services. However, Townsend never voted on any issue that directly concerned his wife or himself.

The Lumbee Supreme Court advised Townsend to rescue himself from any potential vote that could affect his wife. They also suggested that the council define in the Ethics Ordinance the definition of a family member, and what to do in a situation like Townsend’s, as he is not the only member of the council that has family in the tribal administration.

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