Amid accusations that the Quapaw Tribe’s business arm, the Downstream Development Authority, misused its power, Vice Chairman J. R. Mathews resigned effective May 15. He also stepped down as treasurer of the National Indian Gaming Association, a post to which he was re-elected at the organization’s annual meeting in April.
“Since my overwhelming re-election to the Quapaw Tribal Business Committee last fall, there has been a continuing effort by a small group of tribal members to undermine and otherwise discredit the many accomplishments of the Quapaw Tribal government,” Mathews said in a statement. “The personal attacks continue unabated and have taken a toll on the well-being of my family and me. I have talked to my family, closest associates and friends who understand the situation and support my decision to step away from this unhealthy situation.”
In March, the tribe’s Grievance Committee issued a report claiming that Chairman John Berrey, Mathews and Treasurer George McWatters Jr. received excessive compensation from their positions on the Downstream Development Authority, which manages the Downstream Casino Resort in Oklahoma. The report also alleged that the trio used Development Authority credit cards for personal purchases, such as clothes and trips.
Mathews defended the work of the Downstream Development Authority in his resignation, saying, “My intent has always been to benefit the Quapaw Tribe and to never harm anyone. I hope to remain friends with all and to continue as an active supporter of NIGA and the Quapaw Tribe.”