This is an archived article that was published on in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The tribal council of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah has voted unanimously to remove Gari Pikyavit Lafferty as chairwoman for, among other charges, taking improper gifts for herself and her family from the NFL's Washington, D.C., team amid controversy over the team's name.

In a written statement released Thursday, the council said Lafferty had accepted travel expenses and tickets from the football team to attend a game in the nation's capital last year, just days after the tribal attorney had provided conflict-of-interest training that prohibited that exact conduct.

Lafferty's acceptance of the gifts and her attendance at a round-table discussion on the issue of the NFL team's name — which many consider offensive to American Indians — without prior written authorization of the tribal council could reasonably be understood to support the team's position, according to the charges.

The charges point out that a member of the Paiute tribe, Phillip Gover, is a litigant in a trademark suit that seeks to stop use of the team's name and logo, giving the issue particular significance.

"The role of a tribal official is to act to make the tribe better, but the actions of Gari Lafferty since she took office have served neither the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah nor its elected council," Vice Chairwoman Jeanine Borchardt said. "Gari Lafferty's actions served only her self-interest. We are deeply saddened in taking this action."

Katherine James, Lafferty's attorney, said her client has not decided yet whether to appeal.

"She said all along that no matter what happens, it wasn't going to the end of the road for her," James said, adding that Lafferty plans to continue to be involved with the tribe.

The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah — which had about 900 members as of November 2013 — has five constituent bands: Cedar, Indian Peaks, Kanosh, Koosharem and Shivwits. The tribe's reservation consists of 10 separate land parcels in southwestern Utah and its headquarters are in Cedar City.

The tribal council held a hearing Tuesday on charges of neglect of duty or willful misconduct, including three related to the Washington, D.C., NFL team or its foundation.

The charges alleged Lafferty violated the tribe's ethics ordinance by soliciting from the foundation's chief executive officer a football signed by the team quarterback, which was valued at well over the $50 threshold in the tribe's ethics ordinance. In addition, the council said it had reason to believe the team or the foundation arranged for Lafferty and at least one member of her family to fly to Washington, D.C., to attend a Sept. 25 game and covered the cost of the airfare, hotel and VIP attendance.

Lafferty also was accused of ignoring a council directive to apologize to the Indian Peaks Band for calling one of its events an "embarrassment," interfering with an internal Cedar Band issue and misusing her position to disparage a tribal member, which resulted in the cancellation of a keynote address the member was to give at a summit.

Lafferty told The Associated Press that the council was aware of the football and the trip she took after the Washington team's foundation donated vans to the tribe. She says the dispute is more about her leadership style.

A special election has been scheduled for April 30 for the tribal membership to elect a new chair from among the remaining council members.

—The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC