Cree Co. Inc.’s fortunes took a nosedive last year as it declared a loss of $7.55 million, according to the company’s annual report for 1997/98. The huge loss sent the Cree-owned company’s accumulated deficit soaring to $31.7 million.

Cree Regional Economic Enterprises Company, founded in 1982, saw its revenues rise from $89.3 million in 1997 to $95.3 million last year, the report said.

But costs rose much faster, shooting a gaping hole in Cree Co.’s bottom line.

There is no breakdown for profit or loss in each of Cree Co.’s subsidiaries: Cree Construction and Development Company, Valpiro Inc., Air Creebec, Servinor Food Wholesaler Inc. and Jessel Foods Ltd.

Roderick Pachano, chairman and president of Cree Co., didn’t respond to our requests for an interview.

Cree Co. is a subsidiary of the Board of Compensation, which in turn falls under the authority of the Cree Regional Authority. The Board of Compensation manages a total of $157 million in Cree assets, including a heritage fund received as compensation for hydro projects. Pachano is also chairman of the Board of Compensation.

The Board of Compensation refused to give The Nation a copy of its latest annual report and suggested we ask one of the bands. Some bands said they hadn’t seen any copies either. We did eventually get a copy through unofficial channels and will do an article in an upcoming issue.

The Board of Compensation also reportedly protested when information from its annual report was posted on the Grand Council of the Crees’ Web site. The offending information had to be removed.

Pachano, in his message in the Cree Co. report, says changes have been made that “should” turn the company around. He criticized some Cree communities for going into “direct competition” with Cree Construction, “forming partnerships even with those whose stated goal is to ensure that the regional company does not succeed.”

Crees “unwittingly” help the competition “with our own unwillingness or inability to worktogether,” Pachano wrote.