Peters band sought legal advice to hide bonuses after Kinder Morgan deal

“I’m just wondering if you’ve come up with any wording for us RE: ‘bonus’ and amounts’: Peters band councillor.

peters first nation ariel

The Peters band council in British Columbia sought legal advice on what to call bonuses and “reasonable” amounts without getting into trouble with the federal government months after receiving over $2.5 million from Kinder Morgan.

“I’m just wondering if you’ve come up with any wording for us RE: ‘bonus’ and amounts etc,” wrote former Peters First Nation councillor Leanne Peters in an email to the band’s lawyer May 5, 2016.

Leanne Peters, who is now a staff member for the band, was following up on what appears to have been a phone call with their former lawyer Maya Stano of Gowling WLG in Vancouver based on another email.

The emails were obtained by APTN News in an ongoing investigation into Peters, which is under an RCMP investigation and KPMG is also conducting a financial review based on allegations of misappropriation of funds. The KPMG review recently received an extension as a draft report was due July 31.

In depth: APTN opens the books on Peters reserve, finds questionable payments, INAC’s role in question

See also: INAC launches financial review of B.C. First Nation, while RCMP continues investigation

Both the RCMP and KPMG have copies of the emails.

APTN is quoting the emails as they were written.

“Hi I spoke to Maya she said she is glad I asked her there was a band in the lower mainland who got into trouble with giving themselves so much money and them calling it a bonus etc.,” wrote Leanne Peters May 3, 2016 to Chief Norma Webb, Coun. Victoria Peters and staff members.

“She asked if she could get back to us on Thursday, I said that was fine as as is very busy the next two days. She will let us know what we should call it and give us amounts that are reasonable …”

Stano wrote Peters council May 6, 2016 saying “it’s a bit of a tricky area with conflict of interest concerns arising, as well as how the fiduciary duties that council owes to the band come into play” and said she would need to get to back to council to give her “best advice.”

“Recent case law makes this something we need to make sure we get absolutely right,” wrote Stano from her iPhone according to the email.

APTN was not able to obtain any further emails on the matter and wrote Stano asking if she counselled Peters on how to give themselves money without getting into trouble.

Stano did not respond, but the CEO of the Gowling WLG did a couple days later.

“Gowling WLG has not advised the Chief and Council to authorize bonus payments to themselves, nor to disguise any such payments, whether in the form of meeting per diem/Honoria or otherwise,” wrote Peter Lukasiewicz.

Lukasiewicz said Gowling also did not provide any advice to administration or staff.

Stano was one of the lawyers Peters had during its negotiation with Kinder Morgan over the expansion of Trans Mountain pipeline.

Peters signed what’s known as a Mutual Benefits Agreement with Kinder Morgan in January 2016 to allow the company to put a second pipeline through its territory.

The deal is worth millions of dollars over the next 20 years.

Related: Promise to dying mother sees daughter take on ‘rigged’ band council to bring her family home

As of April 2016, Peters had $985,000 in a separate bank account, known as its Kinder Morgan account, according to bank statements obtained by APTN.

Records show $200,000 was transferred from the Kinder Morgan account to its main bank account June 28, 2016.

Peters council has refused to answer questions from APTN.

Peters First Nation is a reserve of 12 homes about two hours east of Vancouver along the TransCanada Highway.

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5 thoughts on “Peters band sought legal advice to hide bonuses after Kinder Morgan deal

  1. Kinder Morgan’s pipeline is a stupid idea from the get-go, because there is no world-class equipment to clean-up a filthy, tar sands spill. This stupid idea is an insult to the intelligence of the British Columbian people. The dilbit is riddled with cancer-causing toxins. Dump KM, to save beautiful BC.

  2. This story is evidence of the true colours of the Peters Band Council. I do appreciate the release of this story as published by APTN, the community members need to hear the facts on the issues. We are learning more about Peters Band Governance from APTN than we do from the Peters Band Council, for that we are grateful. Your efforts will assist in the awareness of the issue and hopefully a chance for correction of bad practice.

    Thank you Kenneth Jackson for all your efforts to shed the light on the truth, we need more people like you in the world keep corruption at bay.

  3. A third party should have been in management of our band since the formal concerns and complaints were initiated regarding membership and the lack of fiduciary responsibility by a few family members. INAC chose and continues to choose to neglect their responsibilities too. Instead five years later our issues and situation has resulted in court cases and news articles. Only if the money ceases will those twenty one who continued to appropriate excess monies wake up. It is so sad indeed representation of any family values, concern for the wellbeing of family and inclusiveness of all doesn’t exist in any of my 21 family members.

  4. This makes me sad! I have been waiting so many months now for a decision as to whether I’ll get my Membership to Peters Band. Which in reality I am a Member since birth and they meanwhile are worried about how to hide money from rest of Band members!

    1. You’re telln me… im a registered PETERS member they are hiding monies from! …. i jis want this all OVER…. As a PETERS im sick of seeing PETERS vs PETERS plasterd all over the news.

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