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Navajo President investigation moves forward

By Daniel Kraker

Flagstaff, AZ – An ethics investigation into Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Junior is moving forward.

The Navajo Nation Council placed the tribal president on paid administrative leave three weeks ago, pending an investigation into whether Shirley broke any laws in connection with two companies that operated on the Navajo Nation. Now the tribe's Attorney General, Louis Denetsosie, has said he will ask the Window Rock District Court to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the President. A three judge panel will rule on the attorney general's request within the next month. That means President Shirley will likely remain on leave for at least several more weeks.

The controversy stems from three confidential reports detailing alleged legal violations involving two businesses that operated on the reservation. OnSat, which provided high speed internet service, and a manufacturing company have been accused of overcharging or misspending millions of tribal dollars. Investigators hired by the council for half a million dollars compiled the reports, but they haven't been made public, not even to Shirley. (NNN: Meanwhile Albuquerque attorney James Zion has filed a public records request with the Navajo Nation council demanding access to the reports. He claims the tribe violated Navajo code when it refused to make them public. The council says releasing the reports would jeopardize the investigation.)
For Arizona Public Radio, I'm Daniel Kraker