May 29 2014 12:00 AM

Executive of Internet provider comes under fire for alleged racially insensitive comments

Saginaw Chippewa Chief Steve Pego. Photo: Facebook.

THURSDAY, May 29 — A top executive at, a local Internet provider, is coming under fire for comments left on Saginaw Chippewa Chief Steve Pego’s voicemail.

The voicemail, first reported in the Mount Pleasant Sun, included several speakers, one of whom was identified as Kirk Shewchuck,’s chief financial officer. It was left on Pego’s voicemail on May 20. The captured conversation followed a message regarding a request to place a cell tower on Saginaw Chippewa land.

Shewchuck can be heard implying that the company might interrupt cell service. Pego told the Morning Sun that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is investigating the conversation as a possible threat.

Pego condemned Shewchuck for the message. In the message, references to “fucking Indians” and “redman” as well as starting an “Indian war” can be heard.

ACD spokesman Joe Ross said, “I’ve known these guys for years. They’ve got no malice towards anyone.”

Ross noted that Shewchuck is Native American. 

Ross declined to comment further, noting that the company had reached out Saginaw Chippewa leaders to arrange a meeting “to hear all the chief’s concerns.” He noted the tribe had not contacted ACD before releasing the voicemail publicly and the company learned of it from the media.