IOWA CITY, Iowa – Records show that National Park Service officials approved $3 million in illegal construction projects over a decade that damaged one of the nation's most sacred American Indian burial sites.
Investigation documents posted on the agency's website show that superintendent Phyllis Ewing and a subordinate repeatedly ignored laws that required archaeological studies and input from tribes before building boardwalks, trails and a maintenance shed at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa.
Regional officials in Omaha uncovered the violations in 2009 but waited years to take formal disciplinary action against Ewing, who was fired Feb. 28 and is contesting the decision.
One watchdog says Ewing oversaw a stunning pattern of desecration.
Ewing's attorney says the Park Service is making her a scapegoat.