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General Membership Meeting Held at Big Fish Event Center

Updated: Jan 22

By Joe Morey

News Editor

Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Chairman Louis Taylor welcomed a group of about 80 tribal members to an LCO General Membership Meeting held at the Big Fish Golf Event Center on Saturday, January 20. It was the first Membership Meeting since Sept. 24, 2022.

LCO Tribal Governing Board from L-R) Don Carley, Gary "Little Guy" Clause, LCO Vice Chairman Tweed Shuman, LCO Chairman Louis Taylor, LCO Secretary-Treasurer Bill Trepanier and Michelle Beaudin. Not pictured is Dave Bisonette who was not at the table at time of pic, seated far right.

Various entities among the hundreds of services and programs at Lac Courte Oreilles provided written reports to the membership with updates, information on services that are available and recognizing recent accomplishments.

Taylor started off the meeting acknowledging that many members would like to see the Tribe’s General Membership Meetings live streamed over the internet, but that some things reported on are for the membership only.

“We are a progressive tribe, and we are looked at,” Taylor stated. “We work with the county, state and townships on many levels and certain things are meant for us.”

Taylor noted that with the new age of Internet sometimes untruths are spread faster than truths. He asked that members wait for official statements rather than from Facebook posts.

Taylor said that he and fellow Tribal Governing Board (TGB) member, Don Carley, were recently speaking about how they have both served on the TGB for over 20 years together and this is the best our Tribe has been financially.

He made remarks about LCO Financial Services (FS) and its’ status when they were re-elected to the TGB in 2017.

“Don, Tweed and I came on and FS was giving $42,000 per month, sometimes they wouldn’t give anything at all, and the partners wanted to renew the contract, but we said no, not unless we are the owners. They were getting millions,” Taylor said. “We brought on Scott Soli and he brought us up to $750,000 per month and soon, we’ll be receiving a million per month.”

Taylor also explained that through the new deal with FS we were able to purchase Big Fish.

LCO Vice Chairman Tweed Shuman also said the Tribe is in the best financial shape its’ ever been.

Shuman said the enterprises have contributed over $700,000 in profit revenue this last year to the Tribe’s general fund.

“We are really proud of them and the casino and FS,” Shuman noted. He also commented on FS and what it has grown to since the negotiations. He said it’s bringing in $11m per year for the Tribe.

Shuman said he, Don Carley, TGB member Gary “Little Guy” Clause, Daylene Sharlow and Jason Weaver make up the board of directors for FS.

“FS continues to see growth and we now have 137 employees through the LCO and St. Louis call centers,” Shuman said. “They are paid very well and we have a high retention rate.”

He shared with the membership that there is a new business through FS called the LCO Technologies Group which will allow FS to do their own payment processing, underwriting and loan management, which used to be paid out and was a lot of expense.

“We will do it all in house and be able to offer this service to others,” Shuman explained.

Taylor also acknowledged and commended all the directors, managers and employees for their hard work and recognized that without them, the tribe wouldn’t be as profitable and have come as far as we have.

Little Guy also recognized some of the tribe’s accomplishments and some of the projects in the future. He said it’s important that with all the new financial surplus the Tribe has, that they diversify it and invest it appropriately.

“We need to keep moving forward,” Little Guy said. “We’re going to squabble and disagree over things but we’re LCO and we’re family, and at the end of the day, we keep growing.”

Little Guy recognized the new elder center opening soon in Reserve and said now we need to work towards a new youth center and a new wellness center for the membership.

“I appreciate all of you and what you all do, the work you have all put in for this Band,” Little Guy said. He also asked everyone to pray for our people and the ones we’ve lost along the way.

TGB member Dave Bisonette also commended the tribal employees and stated there are a lot of good people working for LCO. "We can't do the things we do without them."

Bisonette told the Membership there are a lot of things they are working on and some you'll sooner and some later.

"We aren't trying to hide anything from you," Bisonette said. "We just can't say anything publicly just yet on certain things."

Bisonette said there are important elections coming up on the local level and that LCO tribal members need to get out and vote. He said in April, there are elections for township boards and the county board and that there are LCO members on these boards that need to get our support.

"They are our vote, our representatives on these local boards and if they aren't there, then we have no voice," Bisonette stated. "It's important we keep them there."

The General Membership Meeting contained reports given by various entities of the Tribe, including an address from LCO Secretary-Treasurer Bill Trepanier on the financial state of the Tribe, information from ARPA Coordinators Brian Bisonette and Booki Weilgot, words from other council members and more.

Over the next few issues of the LCO News, there will be several articles detailing some of these reports, while other reports remain for Membership only. Members may contact the tribal office for copies of those reports.

1 Comment

So glad to hear that LCO is doing so well .

I am also wondering if LCO members will ever see a monthly payment like all the other tribes offer their members

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