Richard Brouillard should be replaced as controller of the Board of Compensation because of his role in the Servinor-funds affair, say CRA representatives to the board.

Brouillard is one of the most influential business consultants working for the Crees. Besides his position as controller, he is also a financial advisor and consultant to Servinor Food Wholesaler Inc.

Brouillard recently walked into controversy when he approved Servinor’s withdrawal of $8.9 million from funds managed by the Board of Compensation without getting permission from members of the board. The board discussed the money withdrawal at a heated meeting in Val d’Or at the end of March.

After this meeting, the three Cree Regional Authority representatives to the Board of Compensation drafted a strongly-worded letter asking for the removal of Brouillard from his job as controller.

The letter said Brouillard is in a position of conflict-of-interest.

“This dual role of advising the Board of Compensation as to how best to safeguard Cree Heritage Funds and at the same time be a paid business consultant to one of the companies that now has placed a tremendous amount of Cree funds at risk needs to be reviewed,” says the letter signed by Bill Namagoose, Matthew Swallow and Eddy Diamond.

“These functions must be segregated and we strongly recommend that a new controller be retained bythe Board of Compensation,” says the four-page letter, dated March 29 and sent to all Cree chiefs, board members and the Grand Council of the Crees. A copy was obtained by The Nation.

Brouillard and Board of Compensation chair Rod Pachano couldn’t be reached for comment. The letter will be discussed at a meeting of the board’s management committee on April 28 in Ouje-Bougoumou.

The letter describes Servinor’s cash-withdrawal as “without question an abuse and a violation of all professional business norms.”

It faults the Cree-owned food wholesaler for assuming that the Board of Compensation would bail out its financial losses. “The fact that Servinor Inc. has not been able to secure financing from a banking institution after 11 months but began operations anyway is of great concern. This is a total violation of all business practices and clearly demonstrates that it was taken for granted that the Board would bail out any losses,” says the letter.

“The Cree Board of Compensation members cannot expect guaranteed profits from the business ventures that we are undertaking. We however need a certain level of comfort before the Board of Compensation members can put Cree Funds at risk in a business venture. This level of comfort can only be derived from the advice and opinions we receive from Chief Executive Officers of the companies and the advice and reports we receive as shareholders of the companies from the controller.”