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Indian Council Files for Bankruptcy

July 6, 1989

BOSTON (AP) _ An Indian social service agency filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today, two weeks after the IRS shut down its community center because of more than $700,000 in debts.

The Boston Indian Council’s community center had provided day care, family counseling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, job training, cultural activities and other social services.

A Chapter 11 filing allows a company or organization to hold off creditors while it continues to operate and puts its finances in order.

Greg Buesing, an attorney whose firm represented the council, said the group owed about $500,000 to the IRS for payroll taxes, penalties and interest, and more than $200,000 to other creditors.

Many people cried when the agency’s dilapidated brick building was closed, said Reva Crawford, education director at the council. Massachusetts has about 5,000 Indians of voting age.

″This was the only place they could come where people spoke their language, knew their ceremonies and dances,″ Crawford said.

Buesing said the council had about $2.5 million in federal and state funding in the early 1980s, but grants dried up under the Reagan administration. By 1989, the group’s budget had fallen to $1.5 million.

″They didn’t have any private working capital or a source of private funds to make ends meet and things got out of control,″ Buesing said. ″They spent money that wasn’t there and didn’t cut programs fast enough.″

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