TABCC member arrested for misuse of tribal funds

George Mitchell Littlejohn. Donated photo George Mitchell Littlejohn. Donated photo

George Mitchell Littlejohn, a commissioner on the Tribal Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, is facing 11 charges in tribal court following a Feb. 16 arrest for allegedly charging more than $1,800 to a TABCC credit card for a variety of unauthorized purchases. 

“Arrests such as these show the seriousness of taking advantage of appointed positions,” Cherokee Indian Police Department Chief Carla Neadeau said in a statement posted to Facebook. “When someone takes advantage of a Tribal entity, it is the same as taking advantage of the entire tribal community.”

Littlejohn, 61, faces six felony charges — one for forgery and five for misusing tribal money or property — and five misdemeanor charges for fraudulent use of a credit, bank or debit card.

According to court documents, the first offense occurred shortly after noon on Aug. 20, 2023, when Littlejohn allegedly used a TABCC credit card to make a $118.98 online purchase at Lowe’s Home Improvement while at the TABCC office. The next day around the same time, he allegedly charged $285.58 for a transaction with Verizon Wireless, and on Aug. 22, he is accused of putting a $539.28 purchase at Lowe’s on the credit card, both online purchases made at the TABCC office.

On Dec. 14, 2023, Littlejohn used the card to make a $754.95 purchase at Cherokee Boys Club, signing a receipt for the purchase without authorization from TABCC, court document allege. The final charges stem from a Jan. 21 incident in which Littlejohn allegedly charged a $151.58 payment to Verizon Wireless on the card.

To be released from jail, Littlejohn will have to post an unsecured $30,000 bond and agree to various conditions, including a prohibition on visiting TABCC properties or speaking to its employees.

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Littlejohn was appointed to his current term in 2022, and that term is not set to expire until July 30, 2026. Removing a commission member for cause requires a majority vote of Tribal Council.

Littlejohn is not the first TABCC member to face scrutiny in recent years. Former TABCC Chairman Pepper Taylor resigned after a 2022 Office of Internal Audit and Ethics investigation found that the TABCC had spent $76,421 on food and beverage purchases and $133,039 on travel and training during a five-month period, among other red flags. As chairman, Taylor was responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, and then-Principal Chief Richard Sneed asked for his resignation.

Shortly after completing the investigation that led to Taylor’s resignation, the Office of Internal Audit and Ethics released a separate investigation finding that another TABCC member, Shannon Ross, had on multiple occasions falsely identified himself as an alcohol law enforcement officer to a casino bartender, attempting to get a new drink while he still had another one in hand. Sneed had asked for Ross’s resignation as well, but Ross refused, and Tribal Council declined to remove him for cause. Ross’s term expired on July 30, 2023.

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