Acho Dene Koe First Nation chief sued by band's development corporation

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

The chief of the Acho Dene Koe First Nation tried to steer a government contract away from the band and toward a company he has a stake in, a civil lawsuit filed in Northwest Territories Supreme Court alleges.

Chief Harry Deneron is facing a civil lawsuit from ADK Holdings Ltd. and Beaver Enterprises LP alleging misconduct involving a government contract for airport and highway maintenance in Fort Liard, N.W.T.

ADK Holdings is the corporate arm of the Acho Dene Koe First Nation and Beaver Enterprises is a construction firm owned by the Acho Dene Koe First Nation.

Beaver Enterprises had been awarded the contract to maintain the highway and airport in Fort Liard for a decade. It first won the contract in 2006, then again in 2012.

The statement of claim alleges the government of the Northwest Territories decided to put the contract out to tender in February, citing support from Deneron to open up the bidding instead of awarding an extension to the band's construction firm.

One of the two companies receiving "various levels of support" from Deneron was Blue Mountain Enterprises Ltd.

That company lists an individual named Jimmy Deneron from Fort Liard on its board of directors. The statement of claim alleges the company owes a financial interest to Harry Deneron. But his name does not appear on company documents filed with the territorial government.  

The statement of claim, filed March 1, alleges Harry Deneron stood to gain financially from the contract being awarded to Blue Mountain. By recommending the contract be opened to tender, Deneron breached his duty to ADK Holdings, the statement of claim alleges.

The statement of claim does not make it clear whether the tender has been awarded. 

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for breach of duty in an amount "to be proven at trial," $250,000 in punitive damages, interest and court costs.

Deneron had yet to file a statement of defence as of Friday afternoon and did not return calls from CBC News requesting comment on this story.   

Yellowknife lawyer Sheila MacPherson is representing the three complainants.

The allegations have not been tested in court.