US

Anti-Redskins activist confronted by tribe advocate at press conference

Photo of Patrick Howley
Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

Disputed American Indian activist Ray Halbritter’s New York City press conference to change the name of the Washington Redskins was interrupted by an advocate for disenfranchised members of Halbritter’s own tribe.

An ugly scene ensued at New York’s Marriott Marquis as New York Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney confronted Halbritter over his mistreatment of genuine members of the Oneida Indian Nation, which Halbritter leads as a profit-driven casino oligarch.

Halbritter’s “Change the Mascot” press conference, following his high-profile meeting with NFL officials, was covered by ESPN, Comcast, Youtube Sports, TIME Magazine, and many other mainstream outlets.

The Daily Caller previously reported that Halbritter, a 1/4 Indian and Obama crony, is not a legitimate member of the Oneida Indian Nation, according to U.S. Census rolls and geneological documents.

“I asked him, ‘how are you qualified to be a spokesperson for the Native American people? You’re talking about civil rights and you’re throwing away my client’s civil rights,”" Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney told The Daily Caller.

Tenney’s legal client Melvin Phillips, 76, is a full-blooded Oneida who will be evicted from his ancestral land if a deal struck between Halbritter, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, and a New York Oneida County executive goes through. Halbritter previously evicted his own aunt Maisie, who opposed his tribal leadership.

“His communications guy [Joel Barkin] interrupted me and told me I have to leave because I’m not a legitimate member of the press,” Tenney said. “I replied that I’m a New York State Assemblywoman. He said, ‘then go back to the New York State Assembly.’”

“Halbritter said to me, ‘why don’t you just sue us?’ I said, ‘we have,’” Tenney added. “They asked me to leave…They had hotel security escort me out of the building.”

Halbritter employs the crisis communications firm Red Banyan Group, which also represents CashForGold.com, and IRS scandal figure Lois Lerner’s attorney as he struggles from public fallout from recent revelations about his heritage and record as Oneida Nation Representative. (RELATED: ‘He who has the gold makes the rules’)

Halbritter even entered into a business agreement with NBC Sports to broadcast the network’s “Fight Night” boxing coverage from his Turning Stone Casino in upstate New York prior to sportscaster Bob Costas’ halftime editorial calling the Redskins name “a slur” during NBC’s primetime coverage of the Redskins-Cowboys game. NBC Sports did not disclose its relationship with Halbritter.

Tenney has a meeting scheduled with NFL officials Friday to state her case.

Follow Patrick on Twitter