Seneca leaders wrangle over diabetes foundation

Oct 19, 2012

Just weeks before the November 6 election, outgoing Seneca Nation of Indians President Robert Odawi Porter and other Nation officials are raising concerns about a charitable organization run by presidential candidate Barry Snyder.

Snyder founded the Amherst-based Seneca Diabetes Foundation. Porter says only 11-percent of the $2.6 million raised since 2005 has benefited the health of the Seneca people.

Porter and Nephew (middle) say they have financial concerns about Snyder's foundation.
Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

"To put it simple, the SDF appears to be a negative net financial effect on the Seneca Nation and the Seneca people and constitutes, possibly, a fraud on SDF governors," said Porter, in a news conference Thursday.

In response, Snyder, the current SDF Chairman, said "it's amazing what elections bring out in people."  

"When your ship starts sinking, you'll do anything desperate to make sure that that ship stays afloat," Snyder said.

Porter is backing Council Chairman Richard Nephew for Seneca president. 

Snyder says the diabetes foundation has helped his people.
Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

To date, Snyder said ,the SDF has funded close to $3 million in health and wellness programs for the Seneca people.

"Robert Porter and Richard Nephew are doing nothing more than trying discredit something that is good and helping the Seneca people."

Snyder says SDF's latest annual audit has been presented to Nation officials.