January 22

Fired Maine tribal official tries for new job in California

The man known in Maine as Charles Fourcloud, a convicted embezzler, faces charges after serving as the Passamaquoddys' finance director.

By Colin Woodard cwoodard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Charles Fourcloud, the former finance director of the Passamaquoddy tribe’s Pleasant Point Reservation.

Washington County Sheriff’s Department

Tribal officials there were impressed with the applicant, who had a solid grasp of tribal financial reporting, glowing references, a charming, confident manner, “the regular Indian humor” and way of communicating, Pollard said. He claimed to have been employed for the past 24 years by the Chilkoot Indian Association in Haines, Alaska. They were in fact curious as to why such a highly qualified person would consider moving to their isolated community of 108, located four hours from the nearest commercial airport.

“Why would you leave a job you had for years to come to Fort Bidwell?” she said. “The only people who come to us are those who are wanted or can’t get work.”

Fourcloud (or, as they knew him, Knudsen) said he was divorced and that his only daughter lived in San Jose and he wanted to move closer to her and his grandaughter.

“As women, we were like, oh, OK,” Pollard said. “He had all the right answers.”

Like the Passamaquoddies, the Fort Bidwell Indian Community – which has 400 members overall – did not do a criminal background check of Knudsen/Fourcloud.

Fort Bidwell tribal council member Helen Jaramillo became suspicious of their “too good to be true” candidate, who had shown up at the reservation in person last Thursday, despite having been asked only to be available for a telephone interview. He said he had made $100,000 to $200,000 in Alaska, but was willing to accept their offer of only $75,000, Jaramillo recalls.

She wondered why his references did not include the Chilkoot tribe, where he had supposedly been tribal administrator for more than two decades.

“I called (the Chilkoots) and they said he didn’t work there, but that his name sounded familiar,” Jaramillo said. Shortly thereafter, the Chilkoots forwarded her the Press Herald article with Fourcloud’s photo. “That’s how we found out about it.”

“We have enough people ripping us off,” Pollard said. “We don’t need another.”

This story was updated at 4:22 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 to correct information about Fourcloud's Calais court appearance.

Colin Woodard can be contacted at 791-6317 or at:

cwoodard@pressherald.com

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