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Harm by third party management sparks lawsuit

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compiled by Shari Narine







The Algonquins of Barriere Lake (ABL) filed a lawsuit against the government and their current and previous third-party managing companies, Hartel Financial Management Corp. and BDO Canada. The lawsuit for $30 million in damages claims that the government and managers have harmed the community “by mismanaging and withholding funds that were to be used for the benefit of the community and its members.”†The managers currently hold the ABL’s money in a trust, according to ABL’s press release, which places ABL community’s funds out of their control. “We have requested information regarding our financial status and it was repeatedly refused or ignored,” said Tony Wawatie, Barriere Lake’s Interim Director-General, in a report by The Daily. This lawsuit comes after growing tension between the third-party management program and ABL. Last December, ABL sent out a press release calling for food and donations for 15 Algonquin families, including 25 children. The federal government had refused welfare cheques after ABL failed to comply with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act as a protest against the community’s lack of control over its own finances under the third-party management system. Wawatie also said the infrastructure and training programs the managers were supposed to arrange for the community were never provided. Neither Hartel Corp. nor BDO will comment, citing the fact that the lawsuit is currently ongoing.