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Cayuga Nation court orders turnover of Pipekeepers property after long legal battle

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Cayuga Nation Court has issued a Writ of Execution mandating Dustin Parker to relinquish the premises of Pipekeepers, located at 7153 State Route 90N in Montezuma, Cayuga County. This decision, dated July 5, 2024, marks the culmination of a prolonged legal dispute that began in 2021.

Background of the Dispute

The legal issues arose when Dustin Parker began selling marijuana and cigarettes, claiming sovereignty from federal and state oversight. Parker’s operations were conducted as if sanctioned by the Nation, a claim that was repeatedly found to be false. The Nation’s Business Ordinance requires any citizen wishing to operate a business as a sovereign enterprise to obtain permission from the Nation, which Parker never received.

Throughout the litigation, Parker was given due process, including notice, opportunities to appear in court, and legal representation. Despite these opportunities, Parker consistently failed to comply with court orders. The Nation’s Court, maintaining transparency and fairness, eventually issued the writ after Parker’s continued non-compliance.

Statement from Clint Halftown

Clint Halftown, the Nation’s federally recognized representative and a member of its governing Council, expressed disappointment over Parker’s actions. “It is troubling that Mr. Parker allowed the situation to escalate to this point. The Nation and its Court have been fair and transparent throughout the process. The Nation has laws regarding businesses operating within the Reservation, and Mr. Parker has blatantly disregarded them. The Nation will not tolerate Mr. Parker pretending that Pipekeepers is a sovereign Nation business while violating federal and state laws, evading taxes, and profiting from illegal activities.”

Parker has filed a motion in Cayuga County Supreme Court seeking to restrain the writ. This motion pertains to an unrelated 2023 judgment that the Nation sought to domesticate. Additionally, Parker has filed an appeal with the Nation’s appellate court regarding the decision that led to the writ.

The Appellate Division’s recent decisions only determined that a judgment arising from a fine cannot be domesticated into a New York State Court judgment. These decisions did not invalidate the Nation’s Court or exempt Nation citizens from complying with the Nation’s laws and traditions. Federal law upholds the Nation’s sovereign right to enforce its laws and regulate activities within its Reservation.

Furthermore, Parker’s business operates without a license from the Nation or the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), meaning it lacks regulatory oversight. The Nation expects OCM to take action against Parker’s operations under new enforcement powers granted to state and local authorities.