On December 20, 2017, Haw Men Choo posted on Facebook that Sacred Power, LLC., filed a petition for a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Haw Men Choo is an independent page on Facebook that provides information about the Pueblo of Isleta. Its founder is ReGina Joyce Zuni.
Sacred Power, LLC., is a company that sells solar products and other types of renewable energy resources. Isleta Pueblo purchased ownership interest in Sacred Power through the Isleta Business Corporation (IBC).
The Isleta Tribal Council created the IBC on December 30, 2010. The Council gave the IBC 8 million dollars to begin operating.
The Board of Directors for the IBC are:
Patricia Brave Heart;
Charles Peone Jr.; and
The Isleta Tribal Council selects and appoints the persons to serve on the IBC Board of Directors.
Michael Candelaria is also serving as the acting CEO of the IBC. He replaced David L. Hogans who resigned unexpectedly and suddenly in October of 2017.
The IBC “invested” the tribe’s money in several companies such as: Velocity Build, LLC, Native Merchant Services, LLC, and Sacred Power, LLC. These are just a few of the companies that the IBC has chosen as investments.
Michael Candelaria filed the petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 7, 2017. The bankruptcy petition prevents creditors from suing Sacred Power to collect on debts.
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy will require Sacred Power to develop a plan to pay back some of its creditors and it could eliminate or reduce certain debts. This means that certain creditors could lose all of their money or they could get a paid a small fraction of the money that they are owed.
For a plan to be approved, it must be in the best interests of its creditors. If necessary, the Bankruptcy Court could appoint a trustee to take over the operations of Sacred Power. This can occur if there is evidence to show that there is fraud, dishonesty, incompetence, or gross mismanagement.
If Sacred Power is unable to pay its debts under its plan, it could change its petition to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to eliminate all debts EXCEPT for certain types of taxes.
Sacred Power did not pay federal employment taxes in the amount of $427,286.35 and it failed to pay NM unemployment taxes in the amount of $137,814.84.
A meeting of creditors is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 4, 2017, at the Federal Building, US Courthouse, 500 Gold Ave SW, 12th Flr, Room 12411, Albuquerque, NM 87102.
What does this mean for our Tribe? It means that the IBC is losing the Tribe’s money.
The IBC made a very bad decision to invest in Sacred Power, LLC.
Did the IBC even bother to examine the financial statements of Sacred Power before investing in this company? If they did, then why didn’t the IBC discover that Sacred Power was failing to pay federal and state unemployment taxes? Why didn’t the CEO for the IBC find this problem? Why didn’t the Board of Directors find this problem? Are the persons serving as the CEO or on the Board qualified to serve in those positions? How much does the Tribe pay them?
Our Tribe will now lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, because of the gross incompetence of the IBC and the Isleta Tribal Council.
The Isleta Tribal Council gave the Tribe’s money to the IBC. It gave the IBC millions and for the past 8 years, the Council has failed to provide a report to the people on the financial health of the IBC and the various companies that it owns. Why? What else is the Council and IBC hiding?
What return is our Tribe getting on our investments? What is the total amount of cash that we have given to the IBC? How much money has the IBC transferred back to the Pueblo? What are the salaries of key employees at the IBC? Why does the Tribe pay each member of the Board of Directors $1,500.00 to hold one meeting a month?
Our tribe is likely losing millions of dollars through the IBC. This is the reason that the Council does not want to give our Tribe a financial report. The Council does not want to be accountable for the mismanagement of the IBC.
Instead, the Tribal Council continues to pour millions of dollars into the IBC and we have no return on our investment. So, who is supposed to be protecting the Tribe?
It’s supposed to be the 7 members of Isleta Tribal Council. Those persons are:
Frank Lujan, President;
Ralph Douglas Jiron, Vice-President;
Edward Calabaza, Secretary;
Michael Allen Lente; and
Juan Rey Ashke Abeita.
What safeguards has this Council created to ensure that the IBC is accountable?
What safeguards has the Council created to protect the Tribe’s money at the IBC?
Yes, we should be outraged that this Council continues the tradition of maintaining governmental secrecy.
This Council maintains governmental secrecy to protect themselves NOT the Tribe. The Council does not want to be accountable to you or the Tribe. Governmental secrecy does not protect the Tribe. It protects tribal officials from their bad decisions. It allows tribal council members to escape accountability.
Thanks to the Isleta Tribal Council, our Tribe has lost millions of dollars with the cattle operations at the Comanche Ranch. We lost millions of dollars on the Isleta Lava Block Plant. Now, we are bleeding money through the IBC. So, who will be accountable for losing this money?
Council members Edward Calabaza and Juan Rey Ashke Abeita promised transparency to get elected onto the Council. Now, nearly one full year has passed, and these two council members have done absolutely nothing to create the “transparency” that they promised. They are bumbling around with everyone else on the Council.
Edward Calabaza and Juan Rey Ashke Abeita fought against a per capita distribution. They complained that a per capita distribution is a waste of money because the Tribe has nothing to show for the millions given to the people as per capita. According to them, we, the people, just waste the money. So, what they hell are these two council members doing to prevent the IBC from wasting the millions that it controls on behalf of the Tribe?
What actions have these two council members proposed to protect the Tribe from the stupidity and incompetence of the IBC?
What safeguards have they created to protect the tribe from the IBC wasting money? Where is the oversight of the IBC?
We have every right to know how the Council is spending OUR money. We also have the right to know how the IBC is spending our money. So, why does this Council refuse to provide a financial report to the Tribe? What are they hiding?
For decades, our Tribe wasted millions with the Comanche Ranch. So, how many decades will the Tribe continue losing money at the IBC?
The next time that you see Council Members Juan Rey Ashke Abeita, Edward Calabaza or any of the other Council Members ask them: Why are you failing to protect the TRIBE’S money? When are you going to provide a financial report to the Tribe? Why are you failing to follow through on your promises of “transparency”?
To download the bankruptcy petition, click below: