Museum controversy moves to district court

The challenge to leadership of the Stewart Indian Museum moves to Carson City District Court 1:30 p.m. Friday where Judge Bill Maddox could restore Sheila Abbe and her husband Jeff to their current positions on the museum's board.

The move follows an incident last week that has raised many more questions than answers.

Sheila Abbe, president and treasurer of the Carson City Urban Indian Consortium Inc. was allegedly fired along with husband and secretary Jeff Abbe from their positions at the Stewart Indian Museum.

The action was initiated by a group calling themselves the board for that organization. Esther Thompson, Norman Fillmore, Jason May, Rocky Boice Sr., and Michael Williams allegedly replaced Abbe with a new executive director, Esther Thompson. May was installed as secretary and Boice as treasurer.

This action was filed with the Secretary of State's office where any corporation conducting business in Nevada from the largest casinos to local gas stations must be recorded. The museum is listed as a nonprofit corporation. These documents must be re-filed annually or ammended within 30 days after any change.

The new list of officers submitted at the Secretary of State's office Dec. 18 is currently being processed but determining the legality of that list is not a function of that office according to Scott Anderson, deputy secretary of state for commercial recordings.

"As long as the document is signed by an officer we have to accept that." Anderson said. "It's up to the courts to determine if the list is legal."

Sheila Abbe and husband Jeff are still legally the officers of the organization and will remain so until the processing of the newly designated officers has been completed. But the two were barred from the museum with the help of the Capitol Police.

Abbe said she recently got a tip from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., that their conduct with the organization was being questioned by another group, and to watch out for a takeover. Once that happened she requested protection from the Capitol Police.

"Sheila called me on the Friday before the incident and said there would be a storming and takeover of the museum," Sgt. Brad Valledon of the Capitol Police said, noting that he called the source in Washington, D.C. that she gave him. "I called Sheila back and said I could not substantiate any storming. It would most likely be a non-violent corporate takeover."

Valledon said he informed the officer on patrol what was going on but did not order passing checks because his investigation did not indicate that any violence was pending.

Valledon said Mike Mizell, director of the state Buildings and Grounds Division told him to expect a call from Esther Thompson, and that he should escort her during the takeover to keep the peace.

In numerous calls to the State Department of Buildings and Grounds, no one would comment on the subject until director Mike Mizell returns in early January.

The new organization calling themselves the Carson City Urban Indian Consortium would not give any information concerning the charges brought against the Abbes.


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