2 former tribal agency execs charged with theft

ANCHORAGE — A federal grand jury has indicted two former executives for embezzling from the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, which advocates for tribal governments in Alaska.

The grand jury returned the indictment Friday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage against Steven D. Osborne and Thomas R. Purcell. The two are accused of stealing nearly $236,000 from the nonprofit agency, the Anchorage Daily News reported Monday.

Osborne, the council’s former executive director, is accused of taking almost $214,000 for a motorcycle, three boats and other personal items over 13 months, ending with his resignation in February 2009.

Purcell, the former finance director, is charged with taking nearly $23,000 and funneling almost $70,000 to Osborne to pay off a council-issued credit card without making sure the money was spent in accordance with council policy and procedures.

Purcell became the acting executive director when Osborne resigned. However, the group’s executive council fired him a month later, in March 2009.

Current council executive director Delice Calcote was not available for comment Monday, a woman who answered the phone at the agency said. Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Osborne and Purcell weren’t immediately successful. Osborne’s phone in Fairbanks was disconnected, and Purcell has an unlisted number in Anchorage.

The council was founded in 1992 and has weighed in on topics important to Alaska Natives, such as climate change, affordable energy and land rights.

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