CHOCTAW, MS (WLBT) – A Choctaw Tribal Council member announces his plans to run for chief.
Kevin Edwards, a former Standing Pine Community Police Officer and Tribal Economic Development project manager, had scathing remarks for the direction in which he said the Band of Choctaws is headed.
Edwards wants to become Chief of the Choctaw Tribe and asked supporters Monday if they are better off than they were four years ago?
He wants to replace current leader Miko Beasley Denson.
The 40 year old announced his plans to run citing, his concern for the future of the more than 10,000 member tribe and what he calls mismanagement of funds.
"Four years ago the Golden Moon Casino was open. Now it's closed, but yet when the present chief says that we're in a recession he goes out and builds a third casino, and you can't even keep the second one open," said Edwards.
The Standing Pine Community resident is a native of the Pearl River community.
He is married to wife Sheena and has four children.
He attended Carthage High School and Choctaw Central High School, East Mississippi Community College, Belhaven University and Mississippi College.
Edwards entered the Pearl River Resort management training program in 1997.
In 2009 the businessman was recognized as the Tribal Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year.
The council representative also accuses Denson of disregarding the welfare of the elderly and children, not hiring doctors or improving medical facilities, diverting funds to Atlanta based marketing and gaming companies and awarding contracts to off reservation non tribal contractors.
Tribe members asked questions of the current council member and wanted promises to be open, reinstate subsidies for the elderly, get rid of a $7 million dollar Atlanta Braves Skybox and more investment of funds and profits into tribal member retirement.
"People are scared to get out and talk right now, because they're afraid they're going to get fired. The present chief has made an example out of another candidate that said that he was going to run for chief and as soon as his announcement came out he had him fired and it wasn't so much that he had him fired, he eliminated his position," added Edwards.
WLBT has been told that there are at least three other candidates, and by April 15th they must have their election notice papers certified.
Lola Parkerson, Secretary treasurer of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians released the following this statement Tuesday in response to the comments made by Edwards.
"Our Pearl River Resort has earned record levels of revenue and income over the last few months. This is because of how successful Bok Homa Casino has been and the conversion of the Golden Moon casino to the Arena at the Golden Moon. Pearl River Resort is out performing every other casino in the state. Because we are doing so well, Pearl River Resort is continually hiring while many properties are reducing their work forces. For a Tribal Council member, who wants to be Chief, to be so unaware of our Resort's successes and the state of the US economy is shocking. Our Tribe is proud of the turn around we've accomplished at the Resort. It took a lot of work. For Kevin Edwards to mischaracterize and dismiss our success is shameful," said Parkerson.
The election for Choctaw Tribal Chief is June 14th.
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