With an election looming on Saturday, a nominee for a Comanche Business Committee leadership post has filed for an injunction after he was disqualified by the tribe’s election office.
Ross Kahrahrah filed a complaint for a declaratory judgment, temporary injunction and equitable relief from the Comanche Nation Tribal Court on May 4. He had been nominated for the position during the April 17 general council meeting.
The filing claims Election Office Director Wenona Journeycake, Tribal Administrator Julia Mantzke, Vice Chair LaNora Parker, Secretary/Treasurer John David Wahnee and Business Committee member June Sovo, Diana Gail Sovo-Doyebi, Alice Kassanavoid and Robert Komahcheet Jr. are depriving Kahrahrah of due process.
“All I really want is to be put back on the ballot,” he said. “It was really a shock.”
Kahrahrah was removed from his candidacy following his April 19 urinalysis at Allied Labs. The test is mandatory according to the tribe’s election policy. He said in the filing he advised the lab technician of his doctor’s prescription for Adderall that contained an amphetamine compound and asked she write the information on his samples.
Ten days later, Kahrahrah was disqualified for office. He said by Parker attesting to the qualified and disqualified candidates, she was in a conflict of interest as she is running in Saturday’s election for the vice chair office.
Kahrahrah said Journeycake notified him he was disqualified due to the amphetamines in his system. In his filing, he claimed she refused to accept valid proof of his prescription. He claims she perjured herself by withholding information about his prescription to the business committee members whose duty is to qualify candidates.
Kahrahrah spoke with the lab, who reviewed his prescription. According to the filing, he was told Journeycake already had called and asked if Adderall would show up as an amphetamine.
The labs also told Kahrahrah they could not do a medical review of the hair follicle test and that they had told the Comanche Nation they couldn’t.
Kahrahrah received an email denying his appeal to the disqualification and cited the election office and business committee aren’t medical professionals and are unable to determine the accuracy or validity to any prescription, according to the filing. However, the election policy calls for a medical review. He noted he’d passed the drug screen when he was nominated for tribal administrator in 2020 and nothing had changed in the interim.
Kahrahrah said the tribe is trying to “shift the blame onto Allied Labs.” As part of his request, he asked for the court to review the contract for the screens. According to the filing, a spokesperson for the lab told him the tribe didn’t request the service to conduct a medical review when signing the contract.
Kahrahah isn’t the only person nominated in April who didn’t make it to the May 15 ballot. Nominees taken at the April 17 general council meeting:
•Chairman: Blu Pahdocony, Milton Sovo Jr., Leonard Keith Parker, Mark Woomavovah.
Pahdocony and Sovo were disqualified from the ballot. Pahdocony has since filed as an intervening party in support of Kahahrah’s petition for relief.
•Vice chair: Ross Kahrahrah, Dr. Cornel Pewewardy, Whitney Purdum Kosechatah, LaNora Parker (incumbent), Michael Burgess.
Kahrahrah was joined by Kosechatah in being disqualified.
•Tribal administrator: Francis Attocknie, Julia Mantzke.
Attocknie was disqualified from the ballot.
•Tribal attorney: Crowe & Dunlevy, Dorsey & Whitney, and Kewenvoyouma Law.
Crowe & Dunlevy was disqualified from contention.
Kahahrah is the only disqualified nominee The Constitution was able to reach Wednesday.
Today is the deadline for Kahahrah and the plaintiffs to provide their offers of proof to the court for consideration. A ruling is expected before Saturday’s election.
“We will find out, hopefully tomorrow, if he grants the injunction,” he said.
Kahahrah said he didn’t know if the election would be put on hold or if only the vice chair votes be invalidated. Ballots are already in the mail.
Written by Scott Rains: email@example.com.