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Roseau River chief evicts gas-bar staff in revenue tiff

The RCMP were on hand Wednesday at the Red Sun gas bar, but the eviction was carried out peacefully.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

The RCMP were on hand Wednesday at the Red Sun gas bar, but the eviction was carried out peacefully.

The new chief of Roseau River First Nation has evicted the managers and staff at the Red Sun gas bar, saying revenue from the lucrative operation belongs to the band, not Terry Nelson's family.

An eviction notice was posted on the door of the gas bar, located on Highway 6 just north of Winnipeg, Wednesday evening. Staff were sent home and security guards now occupy the shop.

At least four RCMP cruisers were there, but the eviction was peaceful.

Underlying the issue is a longstanding dispute between current chief Ken Henry and former chief Terry Nelson, now grand chief of the Southern Chiefs Organization.

Nelson's daughter runs much of the operation along with former premier Gary Doer's brother. Henry and his council allege most revenue from the gas bar and smoke shop are accruing to Kathy Nelson and David Doer, who do not hold a proper lease on the land.The band says that revenue -- millions of dollars in cigarette rebates and gas sales -- properly belongs to Roseau.

A press conference is slated for this morning.

Nelson, on the scene Wednesday, called the move "maddening."

He said the band council did approve a proper lease and the operation created 35 jobs that are now in jeopardy. A private gas company owns the pumps and the tanks, and Nelson said the company will not allow them to operate.

The band could earn $100,000 a month in tobacco revenue if it ratified a revenue-sharing agreement with Doer. That revenue-sharing deal was part of how Nelson convinced Doer to invest in and manage the smoke business his daughter owns.

Nelson said it's expected the matter will go to court.

History

Updated on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 8:58 AM CDT:
Replaces photo

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