Forterra Board Commissioned Report Showing Deception in Federal Grant Application
SNOQUALMIE RESERVATION – The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe has stated that the conservation nonprofit Forterra repeatedly lied in its application for a $20 million federal grant. Now, a third-party legal investigation commissioned by Forterra’s Board of Directors supports the Tribe.
Attorneys from the Angeli Law Group were retained by Forterra’s Board to review the evidence pertaining to the Tribe’s statements regarding the USDA grant and concluded, among other things, that:
- Forterra Committed Tribal Government Funding Without Consent and Despite Tribe’s Explicit Refusal:
“Forterra did not properly obtain the Tribe’s consent to include matching funding [$1.5 million in Snoqualmie Tribal funds] in the grant application”
- Forterra Placed “Improper Pressure on the Tribe”, Hid the Narrative of the Grant from the Tribe and Impacted BIPOC Communities: “[Forterra] failed to inform the Tribe of the specific commitments in terms of quantity and timing made to specific BIPOC communities. The grant application as written places improper pressure on the Tribe as the primary source of fiber for specific housing units.”
- Forterra Committed Tribal Timber Without Consent:
“The grant application is internally inconsistent about the amount of fiber that would be harvested … Forterra did not discuss with the Tribe expected quantities of harvest … Forterra guaranteed the Tribe control over the amount of timber harvested from its land; this was not expressly reflected in the grant application.”
“The Snoqualmie Tribe is proud to have stood up for what’s right and will continue to hold accountable bad actors who seek to deceive Tribal Nations,” said Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman Robert M. de los Angeles. “This third-party report proves our Tribe’s claims, however, Forterra’s apology do not go far enough, and only comes after this third party has confirmed the Tribe’s statements.”
The third-party report does not address Forterra’s conduct after the Tribe contacted the USDA. Since the Tribe contacted the USDA in late September, Forterra’s leadership has publicly accused the Tribe of acting in “bad faith” and, privately, in leaked audio from internal all staff meetings, indicated they were “extremely pissed” and “angry” at the Tribe. The leaked internal recording is also significant because Forterra’s description of the grant application process and its communications with the Tribe have been expressly rejected as false by the third-party report.
“The Tribe is still waiting for accountability from Forterra’s CEO and Board of Directors for their shameful decision to attack the Tribe for speaking out,” added Chairman de los Angeles. The Tribe has withdrawn from the USDA grant, which is still under preliminary review by the USDA, and has requested the federal government conduct a full investigation before issuing any funds to the applicant parties. The Tribe remains supportive of its partner governments in Tacoma and elsewhere who were promised funding by Forterra for their proposed projects.