Mashantucket tribe challenged on hiring of ex-treasurer banished over financial conviction

Associated Press

The tribe that owns and operates the Foxwoods Resort Casino is defending its decision to hire its former treasurer, who was convicted of misapplying nearly $178,000 for his personal benefit and was awaiting sentencing.

New London's The Day reported (http://bit.ly/1wRCUOJ ) the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court is set to hear arguments Dec. 18 about hiring Steven Thomas for a personnel job in December 2013. Thomas was later banished for a year from most lands of the tribe.

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Former tribal councilor Charlene Jones interviewed for the job and said she's more qualified than Thomas. She said he was not in "good standing" with the tribe.

The Mashantucket Employment Rights Office said Thomas was not under a banishment order when hired and the tribe's constitution and certain policies include no limits related to felons.

Thomas was convicted of theft after admitting that he misapplied the money by falsifying time cards in 2007, when he was assistant director of the tribe's natural resources department. A judge spared him prison time when he was sentenced, saying she was impressed by his reform before the investigation.

He resigned from the tribal council the day before entering his guilty plea. The tribe's rules prohibit a councilor from serving if "found guilty of a felony or misdemeanor involving dishonesty in any state or federal court."

His brother, a former tribal chairman, is serving an 18-month prison sentence for embezzling more than $100,000 from the tribe.

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Information from: The Day, http://www.theday.com