Thursday May 23, 2013

ST. ALBANS (AP) -- A lawsuit filed by the former leader of an Indian tribe in Vermont is on hold until her pending criminal case is resolved.

April St. Francis Merrill, former chief of the Abenaki Missisquoi tribe, was accused last year of stealing $35,000 through ATM withdrawals, grocery and flower purchases and the installation of a deck. She pleaded not guilty.

The St. Albans Messenger reports (http://bit.ly/12MxHGo) Merrill and her husband sued the Abenaki Self-Help Association Inc. last year, saying they overpaid the group for property in 2004.

Judge Dennis Pearson noted the association sought a delay because it didn’t have access to financial records. The association said the records are with the Franklin County State’s Attorney, who’s prosecuting Merrill.

Pearson said he couldn’t be certain there was no connection between the cases.