IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
February 24, 1997
P.O. Box 184
North Stratford NH 03590
RE: ODANAK ABENAKI
I have received the statement which you sent to me, and as we discussed on the telephone last week, I believe the statement to be strong and worthwhile; however, although it may help in legal matters such as the one you recently faced, it will not have any definitive legal affect. I would be extremely excited to work with you on the idea of pressing an Abenaki land claim. As we discussed on the phone, the first step in this would be to have me research other Eastern United State's Land Claims cases, and develop a suggestive strategy or range of alternative strategies for your use in this matter. As we discussed, there are countless logistical problems to be addressed before such a claim can be initiated. I have proposed to do this research for you and develop a recommended strategy plan for a flat fee of $1,000.00. My staff is ready to get going as soon as the check arrives. I look forward to speaking with you.
Very Truly Yours,
Cind Ellen Hill, Esq.
P.O. BOX 184
NORTH STRATFORD, NH 03590
Employer identification Number: 02-0494095
Case Number: 117008050
Contact Person: LORI WEBB
Contact Telephone Number: (860) 258-2040
Accounting Period Ending;: December 31
Foundation Status Classification: 509(a)(2)
Advance Ruling Period Begins: September 19, 1995
Advance Ruling Period Ends: December 31, 1999
Addendum Applies: No
Based on information you supplied and assuming your operations will be as stated in your application for recognition of exemption, we have determined you are exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code as an organization described in section 501(c)(3).
Because you are a newly created organization, we are not now making a final determination of your foundation status under section 509(a) of the Code. However, we have determined that you can reasonably expect to be a publicly supported organization described in section 509(a)(2).
Accordingly, during an advance ruling period you will be treated as a publicly supported organization, and not as a private foundation. This advance ruling period begins and ends on the dates shown above.
Within 90 days after the end of your advance ruling period, you must send us the information needed to determine whether you have met the requirements of the applicable support test during the advance ruling period. If you establish that you have been a publicly supported organization, we will classify you as a section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) organization as long as you continue to meet the requirements of the applicable support test. if you do not meet the public support requirements during the advance ruling period. we will classify you as a private foundation for future periods. Also, if we classify you as a private foundation, we will treat you as a private foundation from your beginning date for purposes of section 507(d) and 4940.
Grantors and contributors may rely on our determination that you are not a private foundation until 90 days after the end-of your advance ruling period. If you send us the required information within the 90 days, grantors and contributors may continue to rely on the advance determination until we make a final determination of your foundation status.
If we publish a notice in the Internal Revenue Bulletin stating that we....
Letter 1045 (DO/CG)
24 June 1997
P. 0. Box 184
North Stratford NH 03590
Dear Mr. Obomsawin,
It appears that there is a potentially successful legal claim that the Phillips Deed and the Bedell Grant, which purport to convey large tracts of land in the region of northern New Hampshire, Maine, and surrounding areas, are invalid under the Trade and Intercourse Act of 1790.
As we have previously discussed, there are numerous methods by which you could bring a lawsuit to attempt to have these transactions declared void, including suit against municipalities, the states, or individual landowners. In further discussions, you and I have concluded that it would be most effective to target the individual landowners who represent a large share of the land at interest, and are also most culpable for ecological damage being done to the region. These landowners would be Champion and Meade corporations. Additionally, I strongly recommend including in such a suit Dartmouth College, both because they are large landowners in the region, and because, given Dartmouth's history, they have in their possession a significant quantity of materials regarding Abenaki history. They also have on staff a number of people well versed in the history of the region, who could be subpoenaed to testify at trial.
The (sic) are which requires careful thought and planning regarding bringing such a suit is that of identifying the Plaintiff. In order to bring a lawsuit, you must have the proper legal standing. The court must also be able to see that, if you win, there is an appropriate party to receive whatever the settlement or judgement may be. In other words, if the court were to declare the grants to be null and void, they would have to turn the property involved over to someone. The court would need to know who they legally should turn the property over to.
One way to approach this would to be bring a class action suit on behalf of all the descendants of the St. Francis Indians. This would probably be complicated, and would leave open the possiblity for unfortunate grandstanding or publicity battles among the
The better, more legally sound way to approach bringing such a suit would be through the auspices of Odanak, given that there is lawful Canadian recognition of this entity. The council at Odanak could, itself, bring suit. To make things logistically easier, I recommend that the Odanak council designate,a group of people or an organization in New Hampshire to serve as their representative for purposes of pressing this claim of rights.
A law suit of this type would be brought in the Federal District Court for the District of New Hampshire. It would be a long and difficult process, as you may expect the corporate defendants to launch a-strong opposition. The court will also require a lot of lengthy (sic) education on the subject. You may expect the District Court process to take several years. If you lose at the District Court level, the next level of appeal would again take up to three years.
I would be very interested in representing you in this type of legal action. As I stated to you at our last meeting, my office would be willing to undertake the District Court action, through to a final initial judgement in the District Court, for a flat legal fee of $25,000.00. This fee would not include any out of pocket expenses, including phone bills, copying, filing and service fees, and expert witness charges. It would also not include any post judgement actions or appeal. The flat fee would have to be paid up front before we commenced work.
I developed this figure based on the fact that I believe over the next few years there would be quite a number of months when this legal action would occupy the full time resources of my office. I would not be able to set aside other work in order to pursue this claim without adequate up front compensation. I would have no claim on any monetary settlement which might be reached, should that be the direction this eventually goes in.
I would conservatively estimate that you should count on another $25,000.00 over the course of two to three years as out of pocket expenses. I would like to receive at least two thousand dollars in advance on the expense budget, to cover filing fees and service of process.
I look forward to speaking with you further about this.
Very Truly Yours,
Cindy Ellen Hill, Esq.
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
SCOTT ANTHONY GOLLWITZER
August 25 1997
P.O. Box 184
North Stratford NH 03584
Just touching base to find out hou you are getting along with the funding applications for the Abenaki Land Rights Suit. Give me a call when you know where you going with this. I look forward to working on it with you.