This page will reflect the facts according to witness testimony and documented evidence that when compared to the Louisiana State Police (LSP) case report will show stark contradictions to their narrative.
The Performance Incentive Plan approved by the Tribal Council on October 3, 2013. In section 4. “Eligibility and Calculation” it states “Employees (including Tribal member employees) must be actively on the payroll when the performance incentive is paid unless otherwise approved in advance by the Tribal Council.” This provision adopted by the council allowed for a special consideration to be made for separated employees to receive a bonus payment for the work they had previously earned.
Listen to the audio clip below from Montie Spivey’s January 28, 2016 interview with Trooper Mike Washington. At the time of this interview Mr. Spivey had provided Trooper Washington with a copy of the Performance Incentive Plan on January 20. 2016.
11/09/2015 – CBCH update meeting with Chairman O’Neil Darden, Vice-Chairman April Wyatt, Secretary/Treasurer Jackie Junca, Councilman Toby Darden, Councilman Jacob Darden and CBCH GM Anthony Patrone. Anthony Patrone presented the proposed physical year 2014/15 bonus plan for the council’s review and approval. During that discussion Anthony Patrone stated there was more money in the directors bonus pool because there were less directors than last year. Anthony Patrone suggested paying a handful of individuals a little bit more because of the extra responsibilities they assumed because of the directors that left. At the end of that conversation Anthony Patrone makes the statement “You were there for half the year there’s reason not to.” “We typically do not pay people who leave the company, but you did not leave the company, so your bonus is in there, half.”
Please listen to the audio clip below at 40 seconds.
Note: at 02:22 Jacob Darden makes the comment “to be split equally amongst the council.”
Listen below to Toby Darden’s recount of the discussion in his LSP Interview:
At the end of the bonus discussion Anthony Patrone asked the council how they would like to proceed. After a few comments from the council, Anthony Patrone polls the members for their approval.
O’Neil Darden Jr. was the only individual in the meeting that had previously worked at CBCH during the physical year and left but did not leave the company.
12/10/2015 – An all employee meeting is held in ROX where the bonus checks are distributed to managers, supervisors and all associates.
12/11/2015 – A party is held in the new Tsunami restaurant for directors and their spouses. Directors were to receive their bonus at this party, but Anthony Patrone waited until the following week to distribute them.
12/14/2015 – The Tribal Council meets with Mr. Patrone and has a discussion about the bonus payment for Mr. Patrone. According to his contract Mr. Patrone had earned 75% of his base salary but made an argument to the council that he was close enough to his number that he should be paid the top tier of his bonus structure at 100%. This proposal was made to the Tribal Council by Mr. Patrone during this discussion and later the council agreed to revision.
As stated by Toby Darden during his LSP interview.
Listen also to Jacob Darden during his interview.
12/15/2015 – Montie Spivey (Casino CFO), Linda Neezy and Tara Trahan calls Patty Perry (Tribal CFO) and inquires if the tribe could issue the bonus payment to O’Neil Darden since he was terminated in the payroll system. Patty Perry instructs Montie to make the payment from the casino since that is where the funds were accrued.
Patty Perry during her interview with the LSP informs the investigators that she was not comfortable with the payment to O’Neil Darden so she contacted either Bob Carroll (Gaming Commission Chairman) or his law partner Guy Michael (Legal Counsel for Tribe, Gaming Commission and Casino).
Patty Perry told the LSP during her interview that she went to Vice-Chairman April Wyatt’s office after she left the office of Nikina Vilcan and told her about the casino’s request.
12/17/2015 – According to Montie Spivey’s statements Anthony Patrone informs him to add O’Neil Darden’s name to the bonus list because he had met with the council and they had approved his prorated bonus.
12/17/2015 – Montie Spivey emails the updated bonus distribution list to Patty Perry, Anthony Patrone and O’Neil Darden. The email states “Patty, Attached is the final bonus list that you requested this morning for the Council resolution. We had talked about O’Neil, so he is included on this list as not paid yet. He is pro-rated for the first three quarters of the year.”
Patty Perry emails Montie Spivey back and points out an error on Anthony Patrone’s bonus percentage. Montie Spivey emails back the corrected document and Patty Perry responds “Looks good thanks, Montie.”
Mr. Spivey confirms he sent the 12/17 email to Trooper Washington during his January 28, 2016 LSP Interview.
However this email and others provided by Mr. Spivey to Trooper Washington on January 20, 2016 was not included in the State’s Discovery as evidenced on their attachment sheet.
Patty Perry told the LSP during her interview that she went back to Vice-Chairman April Wyatt’s office after she received the bonus list with O’Neil Darden’s name from Montie Spivey.
12/17/2015 – According to the Louisiana State Police report Guy S. Michael was contacted by Tribal Vice-Chairman April Wyatt about the request to pay the prorated bonus to O’Neil Darden. Guy S. Michael informs Vice-Chairman Wyatt that the payment was in violation of Tribal Ordinance 525 and Tribal Ethics Laws. Guy S. Michael subsequently notifies the Chitimacha Gaming Commission and the Louisiana State Police.
12/18/2015 – Jill Louivere sends resolutions CHI-TC #91-15 and #CHI-TC #92-15 to the tribal council through an email (*) poll for their approval. Resolution #91-15 is the resolution that formally approves all of the bonus payments that were verbally approved during the 11/09/2015 meeting. Resolution #92-15 is a resolution that adopts a special consideration that approved an amendment to Anthony Patrone’s contract authorizing him to receive the top tier of his bonus plan at 100% of his base salary.
Councilman Toby Darden and Secretary/Treasurer Jackie Junca responds to the email poll for CHIT-TC #91-15 in the affirmative “Yes.”
April Wyatt and Jacob Darden did not vote on the email poll.
Listen to April Wyatt discuss this with the LSP during her interview.
Resolution #92-15 is approved by a unanimous vote.
At 11:53 am Jacob Darden sends a text message to O’Neil Darden “Question.” “Do you think you should receive the bonus from CBCH?
At 2:40 PM, O’Neil Darden calls Jacob Darden and they have a conversation about the question in his text message. Jacob Darden expresses his concerns about O’Neil Darden receiving the bonus and that he and April Wyatt has spoken about it as well.
Listen to Jacob Darden describe the conversation with the LSP during his interview.
Listen to April Wyatt’s statement to the LSP during her interview.
Vice-Chairman April Wyatt tells the LSP during her interview that they didn’t know the bonus for Chairman Darden was an issue until it came through the 12/18 email poll.
12/19/2015 – 12/26/2015 – O’Neil Darden and his family are out of the state for the Christmas Holiday.
12/182015 – Mikki Smigielski (CBCH IT Director) emails Anthony Patrone and Montie Spivey and asked a question about another tribal member’s bonus as another special consideration was made to pay him additional bonus. In the message Mrs. Smigielski states “I figure they can just direct deposit because we already turned off check printing (it’s a security feature).
This email is not included on the LPS attachment sheet as evidenced.
12/20/2015 – As stated Montie Spivey informed the LSP during his January 28, 2016 interview that he emailed Anthony Patrone and stated “Yes, they were included in the form that I sent to the tribe in their new locations. Payments will come on the 4th -5th at first opportunity payroll can run them. Mikki is aware.” There were five other employees that received additional bonus monies at the time Mr. Darden’s bonus was processed.
12/28/2015 – O’Neil Darden returns to his office.
12/29/2015 – O’Neil Darden speaks with April Wyatt in her office about her concerns with him receiving the bonus. April informs O’Neil Darden that Montie Spivey contacted Patty Perry last week while he was out and asked to pay his bonus through the tribe’s payroll system. That was suggested by Tara Trahan since O’Neil Darden was terminated in the casino’s payroll system. April tells O’Neil Darden that she had an issue with that because she would have to sign the documents to authorize the payment.
It is now known that the phone call between Patty Perry and Casino staff occurred on December 15, 2015 and not during the time frame Mr. Darden and his family was out of town.
12/29/2015 – While at the casino O’Neil Darden speaks with Anthony Patrone that afternoon and informs him about his discussion with April Wyatt. Anthony Patrone tells O’Neil Darden that he would speak with Montie Spivey. Later he informs O’Neil Darden that Montie Spivey spoke with Patty Perry and she instructed him to pay the bonus through the casino’s payroll since that is where the money was accrued.
It must be noted that Patty Perry told the LSP that she had reached out to Heidi Hobkirk with McGlaredy now RSM (Tribal/Casino Audit Firm) and inquired if the payment to Mr. Darden could be made from the Tribe. Patty Perry stated Mrs. Hobkirk thought that would be an appropriate method to make the payment.
However as stated earlier she instructed the casino staff the opposite by telling them the payment should come from the casino.
12/29/2015 – Anthony Patrone signs the Personal Action Form (PAF) authorizing the casino’s HR department to reactivate O’Neil Darden back into the system in order to process the bonus payment.
01/04/2016 – Montie Spivey emails (*) Antony Patrone that the supplemental bonus payments will be processed on the 5th. “Anthony, O’Neil’s bonus will be processed tomorrow, along with the others we talked about. It will hit their bank Wednesday or Thursday, depending on their bank.”
01/05/2017 – Hearing no objections from any member of the Tribal Council, Patty Perry, Guy S. Michael (Tribal Legal Counsel), the Chitimacha Gaming Commission or the Louisiana State Police the casino processes the bonus payment.
01/06/2016 – According to O’Neil Darden’s bank records the funds were deposited into his checking account.
01/06/2016 – Following a hotel design meeting the council has a discussion about O’Neil Darden’s bonus. O’Neil Darden informs them he spoke with Montie Spivey and learned his bonus was processed and he will be receiving the money.
Listen Below from Toby Darden’s LSP interview.
Listen Below from Patty Perry’s LSP interview
Jackie Junca transcript on page 6 line 20
Jacob Darden transcript on pages 6 & 7
The council did not vote during the meeting and only had a discussion about the bonus payment to Mr. Darden.
Jacob Darden informed the LSP during his interview “Toby was in favor, Jackie and myself was against it, and April was ultimately against it but she wanted to think about it before.”
Toby Darden informs the LSP about his recollection of the conversation the bonus discussion on 01/06/2016.
When O’Neil Darden arrived home Toby Darden sent him the text message below.
01/07/2016 – According to April Wyatt’s LSP interview she contacted Guy S. Michael on the morning of the 7th along with Patty Perry and inquired about paying Mr. Darden the bonus and what would happen in the event of a tie.
01/07/2016 – O’Neil Darden sends an email (*) to Montie Spivey and copies Anthony Patrone asking him to remove his name from the bonus list because, he has decided to refuse the bonus.
It was taking some time for Montie Spivey to respond. O’Neil Darden sends a text message to Anthony Patrone asking if Montie Spivey was still on property. He responds that Montie Spivey is working on your request, but he is having email problems. O’Neil Darden thanks Anthony Patrone for the suggestion of the bonus, but it was not worth the backlash.
Montie Spivey returns the updated bonus list with O’Neil Darden’s name removed. O’Neil Darden then forwards the email to Jill Louviere. O’Neil Darden has Jill Louviere send an email (*) to the council advising them that he has decided to refuse the bonus and the bonus list is updated without his name. This was stated to the LSP by Toby Darden during his interview.
During the Montie Spivey January 28, 2016 LSP interview Trooper Washington asked Mr. Spivey if any one from the Tribal Council asked him to remove O’Neil’s name from the list and Montie responds “Yes” Trooper Washington “Who told you that?” Mr. Spivey “O’Neil.”
At the January 07, 2016 council meeting resolution CHIT-TC #91-15 was approved unanimously.
It is at this point O’Neil Darden is responsible for repaying the money since it was processed and deposited into his account prior to refusing it.
Mr. Darden received the funds prior to the councils formal adoption of the resolution just as the other 600 employees and following a full and open discussion of the Tribal Council, Mr. Darden refused to accept the bonus.
This simple and easy to understand situation was clearly understood by Trooper Washington during the course of his investigation.
Please listen to the three examples below:
April Wyatt Interview:
Toby Darden Interview:
Jackie Junca Interview:
The above interview with Jackie Junca occurred on January 26, 2016 at 8:05 AM. However, Trooper Washington two days later on the 28th during the second interview with Montie Spivey made the following statement.
Also during the January 7, 2016 Tribal Council meeting First Assistant District Attorney Robert C. Vines was sworn into office by Chairman Darden as the Tribal Prosecutor for the Chitimacha Tribal Court. ADA Vines is the prosecutor that is handling the prosecution of Mr. Darden in the 16th JDC Court.
01/07/2016 – Montie Spivey sends an email (*) at 6:20 PM to Linda Neezy, payroll and copies Bruce Burgess. “Hello all, O’Neil contacted me today to talk about his bonus check. He has rescinded his position, and would like us to void the transaction. Since the money has already been sent to his bank, he is going to issue a check back to the casino, but would like the transaction voided out in the system and his wages here in 2016. ” “How do we go about accomplishing this, and will he need to be put back in and taken out of PDS again?”
01/09/2016 – Montie Spivey sends an email (*) to Chris Koerperich with RSM formerly McGladery the tribes external audit firm. In the email Montie Spivey informs Mr. Koerperich “O’Neil has decided not accept the allocation to him, so I have revised the attached sheet to reflect the void of that transaction.”
This email was not included in state discovery as evidenced on their attachment sheet.
01/13/2016 – Montie Spivey sends another email to Chris Koerperich (RSM) regarding the year-end casino audit. In the email Mr. Spivey states “Chris, Attached are the payroll reports from the bonus that we discussed. Please note that O’Neil is still showing on the last one, as their were other adjustments made that day.”
This email was not included in state discovery as evidenced on their attachment sheet.
In a press release made by Master Trooper Brooks David and referenced in a February 2016 statement made by Mr. Donald Washington, Trooper David stated “Patrone instructed an employee to remove the former employee’s name from the data base and conceal the payment.”
The above two email messages to Chris Koerperich (RSM Tribal Audit Firm) clearly demonstrates Mr. Spivey informed the auditors the transaction was voided because Mr. Darden refused to accept the bonus.
During his January 28, 2016 LSP interview Montie Spivey explains the voiding of the payment to Troop Washington. Since the taxes and other payroll deductions were made when the bonus was processed and Mr. Darden later declined the bonus and the casino had to void the transaction before the taxes and other deductions would have to be remitted to the government.
01/13/2016 – According to the Louisiana State Police report their office received information from the Chitimacha Gaming Commission suggesting a possible crime had been committed by senior management personnel at Cypress Bayou Casino.
January 13, 2016 was a very significant date in this matter and may reveal why a complaint was forwarded to the LSP.
According to Jill Louviere in her January 22, 2016 LSP interview she was called into Chairman Darden’s office the week prior to the interview and was told by Mr. Darden that the bonus funds hit his bank account and that he had to pay it back.
We now know this conversation occurred on 01/13/2016.
Another important event on the date of January 13, 2016 started with a phone call from Guy S. Michael to Jill Louviere. Jill Louviere then sends a text message to Chairman Darden. The relevance of this call and text message started on December 9, 2015 when the Tribal Council met with Bob Carroll and Guy Michael and informed them that the tribe would not be entering into a new contractual relationship past the current three year agreement that was in place since 2014.
01/19/2016 – Montie Spivey emails (*) accounting and Bruce Burgess at 5:32 PM “Hello Accounting, I just wanted to make sure that we have not received O’Neil’s check before asking him about it.”
This email was not included in state discovery as evidenced on their attachment sheet.
01/20/2016 – LSP conducts the first interview of the investigation with Linda Neezy at 2:45 PM.
01/21/2016 – At 9:45 AM O’Neil Darden receives an email (*) from Montie Spivey asking when can the casino expect to receive the check that was discussed for reimbursement of the bonus payment.
01/21/2016 – At 12:16 PM O’Neil Darden responds “Tessa was suppose to bring a check. I will ask her about it.”
Mr. Darden’s response to the email chain was not included in state discovery as evidenced on their attachment sheet.
01/22/2016 – Mrs. Tessa Darden brings a personal check for the amount of $3, 983.60 for the net amount deposited after taxes. The check was written from the same account that the money was direct deposited into initially.
As of 10/2020 the check has never been cashed by the casino because the LSP took possession of the instrument and the funds remain in Mr. Darden’s account.
* Please note that all of the emails quoted are part of the evidence provided by Mr. Spivey on January 20, 2016 to Trooper Michael Washington following Mr. Spivey’s 1st interview. However only 6 of the nearly 27 emails provided to the Louisiana State Police are included in state discovery as evidenced on their attachment sheet.