Native leader facing summer jury trial

Bob Loescher

Former Sealaska CEO Bob Loescher arrives at the Dimond Court Building for his arraignment on theft charges on Wed. May 14, 2014. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

An August 4th trial date has been set for a former Sealaska corporation executive accused of stealing money from a subsistence fund.

A ‘not guilty’ plea was entered on behalf of Robert ‘Bob’ Loescher, 66, who appeared in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday in a wheelchair.

He was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month on two counts of second degree felony theft. Each of the newer charges refer to the alleged taking of property that is valued between $500 and $25,000.

Loescher earlier appeared in court in December after he was charged with a single count of second degree theft. Loescher allegedly took $21,515 in funds managed by the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp. The funds were part of the Alaska Subsistence Defense Fund and Alaska Traditional Foods Security Council which were set up to protect Southeast Native subsistence rights.

Loescher was head of the groups when the money allegedly was taken.

A jury trial in the case is expected to last three days. Loescher worked for Native corporation Sealaska for over 22 years, rising to the position of chief executive officer before he left in 2001.

CBJ Assemblymembers Carlton Smith and Randy Wanamaker, and Bill Martin, former president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, attended the arraignment hearing on Wednesday.

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