Saskatchewan man, once convicted of fraud, rehired by Acho Dene Koe First Nation

'Everybody deserves a second chance,' says Acho Dene Koe Chief Gene Hope, though some people feel differently.

'Everybody deserves a second chance,' says Acho Dene Koe Chief Gene Hope

Gene Hope, chief of the Acho Dene Koe First Nation in Fort Liard, N.W.T., defended hiring a man once convicted of fraud to work as a consultant to help straighten out the band’s finances. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

A man who left a job with the Acho Dene Koe First Nation in Fort Liard, N.W.T., when a former fraud conviction came to light in 2015 has been rehired by the band.

The Regina Police Service says Kelly Boyd Clark was charged in connection with an alleged misappropriation of almost $80,000 from the Saskatchewan Soccer Association. Clark was convicted in 2012 and sentenced to six months in jail and 18 months probation. 

Former Acho Dene Koe chief, Harry Deneron, says the band hired Clark in 2015 to be the band manager. He says Clark did not disclose his criminal record.

Deneron says when he found out about Clark's history he confronted him and told him he was going to bring it to the band council. Clark left town that night without giving any notice.

Documents recently obtained by the CBC show that Clark is back on the band's payroll.

The current Acho Dene Koe chief, Gene Hope, says Clark has been hired as a consultant to help straighten out the band's finances and work with auditors. He says Clark has a masters degree in business but does not have access to the First Nations funds.

When asked if he was aware of Clark's criminal record, Hope told CBC: "I know about that."

"Everybody deserves a second chance."

Cleaning house

Hope says he's had to clean house since his election in May. Four people have been fired from the First Nation, including former chief Harry Deneron's daughter.

"We want people with no ties to the Denerons," Hope says.

Hope alleges Harry Deneron mismanaged the band's finances, however he says he has no proof that occurred.

"We're still investigating," Hope says.

Deneron denies the allegations. He was suspended as chief earlier this year by the band council. The council cited a lack of confidence in his leadership amid an ongoing lawsuit involving Deneron and the band's development corporation. 

Deneron says it should not be up to Hope to decide if Clark deserves a second chance.

"That should be up to the people, not the chief," Deneron told CBC.

Deneron says Hope should hold a public meeting to get the opinions of community members. Hope says he's in the process of organizing a meeting, but if members have any questions they can visit him at the band office.

CBC attempted to reach Kelly Boyd Clark for comment; Hope said that he declined.