Clayton Kennedy, former Attawapiskat co-manager, charged with fraud

The former co-manager of Attawapiskat First Nation is facing fraud and theft charges for writing a $51,000 cheque.

Partner of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence now co-manager of Taykwa Tagamou Nation in Cochrane

Clayton Kennedy, the former co-manager of the Attawapiskat First Nation, has been charged with fraud and theft, CBC News has learned. (CBC)

The former co-manager of Attawapiskat First Nation is facing fraud and theft charges for writing a $51,000 cheque.

Clayton Kennedy is charged with fraud and theft over $5,000.

The charges against him are listed on a charge sheet filed March 27 by Det.-Const. Trevor Martin of the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service.

The document alleges the fraud "by writing a cheque" occurred in Attawapiskat on or about Aug. 28, 2012, and that the stolen money belonged to the Attawapiskat First Nation. The court document does not provide any other information about the cheque.

Kennedy, 62, was co-manager of the northern Ontario band’s finances from July 2010 until the end of the summer of 2012.

Kennedy is the common-law spouse of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.

During Spence's hunger strike in 2013, Kennedy stayed in a nearby hotel as Spence subsisted on fish broth and medicinal tea on an island in the Ottawa River.

Spence ended her hunger strike, which she undertook to convince the country's top leaders to take First Nations concerns seriously, after six weeks. Her actions attracted national attention.

Tuesday afternoon, the Attawapiskat First Nation issued a statement calling the matter "very serious" and saying it was the band council that called in police after an internal investigation was conducted.

The statement also said Spence has recused herself from any involvement or discussion on the matter.

The council pledged to co-operate fully with the legal process, and said it would have no further public comment.

Kennedy is now co-manager of Taykwa Tagamou Nation, in Cochrane, Ont.

Co-management is the middle level of intervention by the federal government in order to improve a First Nation’s financial situation.

The Department of Aboriginal Affairs and the band council agree on a co-manager, who is paid by the band.

Kennedy was in the spotlight during Attawapiskat’s housing crisis in 2011 when questions were raised about the band’s financial books, and again in 2012 when an external audit found a troubling lack of financial documentation.

Attempts to reach Kennedy or Attawapiskat officials Monday night were unsuccessful, and a message left with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt's office was not immediately returned.

Kennedy is due to appear in court in Attawapiskat on May 28.