October 3, 2013

Maine tribe fires finance director with embezzlement record

The Passamaquoddies check the books for irregularities and say the new hire misled them on his past and identity.

By Colin Woodard cwoodard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Charles Fourcloud, former finance director of the Passamaquoddy tribe’s Pleasant Point Reservation, in a police booking photo after police arrested him Sept. 23, 2013, in the tribal government parking lot for driving under a suspended California license.

Photo: Washington County Sheriff’s Dept.

After leaving prison, Knudsen started changing his name. A legal notice published in 2009 in a Spanish-language newspaper in Santa Clara County, Calif., noted that Arlynn Knudsen would change his legal name to Arlynn Eaglestar on July 28 of that year.

Later that year, the newsletter of the South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency in Washington state mentioned that the agency had hired Arlyn EagleStar – a slightly different spelling – as its new chief financial officer. In an informal photo of the agency’s staff accompanying that article, a Passamaquoddy tribal source identified a man they say is Fourcloud. A call to the agency was not returned Wednesday.

The former website of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas mentions having hired “Mr. Arlyn Eaglestar of San Jose, California” after “an extensive interview process.” Nobody authorized to discuss Eaglestar’s tenure with the Livingston, Texas-based tribe was available for comment Wednesday.

Passamaquoddy tribal council member Ed Bassett said Fourcloud impressed the tribe’s hiring committee, with his qualifications and his cultural background.

“He was able to speak well and knowledgeably about his field and he also was Lakota or Sioux, I believe, and knew how to speak his tribal language,” Ed Bassett said. “When people do that, there’s a certain amount of respect paid to them because they are culturally connected with their communities.”

Chief Cleaves said the tribe followed up on Fourcloud’s references, and heard glowing reviews. “Everything came back positive,” Cleaves said. “Of course we don’t know who we were talking to. It could have been a partner in crime.”

Ed Bassett said the weakness in the system was a failure to do a criminal background check, although with the aliases he wonders if it would have come up clean.

“One thing I wish we had nationwide was some kind of alert system for people like this, because it seems like he may have had a pattern of going to little tribes and trying to gain their confidence,” he said. “Then maybe we could stop this kind of thing from happening elsewhere.”

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

cwoodard@pressherald.com

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