Tag Archives: Attorney General Louis Denetsosie

9/28/2011 Navajo Times: New special prosecutor to replace Balaran

9/28/2011 Navajo Times: New special prosecutor to replace Balaran By Bill Donovan, Special to the Times: A new special prosecutor for the Navajo Nation is expected to be named within the next 10 days. Dana Bobroff, deputy attorney general for the Navajo Nation’s Department of Justice, told Window Rock District Court Judge Carol Perry on Monday that the Special Division of Window Rock District Court overseeing the special prosecutor’s assignments was discussing the selection of someone to replace Alan Balaran.

Balaran was hired about 18 months ago by DOJ after members of the Navajo Nation Council decided that a special prosecutor was needed to investigate then President Joe Shirley Jr. because of alleged misconduct in two failed business deals that cost the tribe millions.

Then Attorney General Louis Denetsosie later asked the court to extend the scope of Balaran’s authority to include investigation into alleged misuse of tribal discretionary funds by Council members. Balaran would later file criminal cases against 77 of the 88 members then serving.

Most of the cases were later dropped in favor of civil suits against the same people, plus additional officials including Denetsosie, Shirley, and the tribe’s current attorney general, Harrison Tsosie, and the controller, Mark Grant.

Bobroff, who works for Tsosie, said she met with Special Division officials Monday morning but did not go into detail about what was discussed or whether the court will look in-house for the next special prosecutor or bring someone in from outside the tribe, as with Balaran.

Balaran’s last day is Friday, Sept. 30, but he said he is continuing to work on the cases up to the end, and is making arrangements so that when a new prosecutor is named, that person will be able to pick up where he left off.

9/8/2011 Navajo Times: DOJ's role in slush fund case questioned

9/8/2011 Navajo Times: DOJ’s role in slush fund case questioned by Marley Shebala: Some Navajo Nation Council delegates accused of looting their discretionary funds are hoping the tribe’s insurance coverage includes the legal expenses of their defense. Henry Howe, an assistant attorney general for the Navajo Nation’s Department of Justice, told the Window Rock District Court on Aug. 29 that several individuals named in the suit filed July 28 by Special Prosecutor Alan Balaran have asked DOJ “whether the Navajo Nation’s insurance policies provide insurance coverage or the cost of representation by an attorney, or both, arising out of the claims made by the special prosecutor.”

Defendants in the civil suit include 81 of the 88 members of the previous Council, former President Joe Shirley Jr., former Attorney General Louis Denetsosie, Controller Mark Grant, and current Attorney General Harrison Tsosie, all of whom are required to respond to the allegations in the suit within 30 days of being served.

Because of the number of people named in the suit, getting everyone served has been a slow process. Some responses were due by Aug. 29 while other defendants have deadlines extending throughout September.

Some defendants have already made arrangements to file their responses without an attorney and others have hired private counsel, including Gallup attorney David Jordan, who represented 23 of the defendants when Balaran filed criminal cases against them.

Balaran later dropped the criminal charges in favor of pursuing civil remedies, which he said would be a more efficient way for the tribe to recover some of the money lost.

Howe had asked the tribal court to extend the deadline for everyone until Oct. 15 to give the Justice Department and the tribe’s Insurance Commission time to seek expert advice on the question of whether the tribe’s insurance company will provide attorneys or pay their attorney fees.

Window Rock District Court Judge Carol Perry denied the request Sept. 1 but said she wanted to be kept informed of the status of discussions on who should pay the defendants’ legal bills.

She pointed out that some defendants have already decided to represent themselves or have hired private counsel, which is consistent with the general rule that “parties to a dispute must bear their own legal costs in the absence of a statute or special circumstances justifying an award of attorney fees.”

Perry pointed to recent Navajo Nation Supreme Court decisions dealing with the criminal cases filed by Balaran, in which the high court stated that “people expect their government to perform properly, that money will be used in a manner which they have been informed and will not be used for private purposes.”

The defendants are accused of running or enabling scams that took discretionary funds meant to aid impoverished tribal members and redirected the money to benefit the defendants or their relatives.

7/29/2011 Gallup Independent: 'Brazzenness' Navajo officials charged with misusing millions

7/29/2011 Gallup Independent: ‘Brazzenness’ Navajo officials charged with misusing millions By Kathy Helms, Dine Bureau: WINDOW ROCK – A lawsuit charging current and former top-level officials of the Navajo Nation – including former President Joe Shirley Jr. – with breach of fiduciary responsibility was filed Thursday with Window Rock District Court by Special Prosecutor Alan L. Balaran. The complaint alleges the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and state grant and contract funds and the associated loss or drastic curtailing of programs vital to children, the elderly, and the indigent. “I filed a complaint against almost every delegate – except for the three or four that settled – against the ex-president, against the current and former attorneys general, against the controller and against the speaker,” Balaran said late Thursday. He also requested that those still in office “be removed from their jobs, do a full accounting, give up their salaries for those times that they were stealing from the people, and return everything.”

Fifteen of the 16 delegates from the 21st Navajo Nation Council who are now part of the 22nd Council, including Speaker Johnny Naize, are being sued solely in their individual capacity as having acted outside the scope of their authority. Charges also were filed against former Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan, former Attorney General Louis Denetsosie, current Attorney General Harrison Tsosie, Controller Mark Grant, and John Does 1-50.

Last October, weeks before the General Election, criminal charges alleging conspiracy, fraud, theft, forgery and abuse of office – relating to how the Speaker’s Office managed its discretionary fund program – were filed against 78 delegates of the 21st Council. Balaran withdrew those earlier this year in anticipation of Thursday’s filing.

Each person charged “has a fiduciary duty to protect the Nation and to do everything in their best interest,” he said. “Clearly their actions were antagonist to those of the Nation and instead were simply selfish moves to further their own personal gain.”

According to Title 2, anyone who violates ethical rules can be incarcerated, forced to pay restitution, and removed from their job, he said.

President Ben Shelly and Vice President Rex Lee Jim settled their cases earlier this year. Also not named in the new complaint are 22nd Council Delegate Roscoe Smith and 21st Council Delegates Jerry Bodie, Herman Daniels Sr. (deceased), Tom LaPahe (deceased), Lawrence Platero, and Harold Wauneka. Delegates not charged last year but whose names appear in the new complaint include LoRenzo Bates, Katherine Benally, Naize, Jonathan Nez and Leonard Tsosie.

Balaran alleges that the senior officials acted in concert and that the “brazenness” demonstrated by them demands not only monetary redress but the appointment of a Financial Receiver to assume the responsibilities of the controller, as well as the immediate removal and replacement of those delegates still occupying positions of authority.

Between 2005 and 2010, each delegate was given $250,000 in discretionary funds which they are alleged to have unlawfully appropriated to themselves, their families, friends, and other delegates and their families, “resulting in a total unlawful expenditure of tens of millions of dollars of the Navajo Nation.”

Balaran claims that those unlawful appropriations and expenditures by delegates could not have been carried out without the assistance of the other named defendants, “either acting in concert with the delegates or recklessly refusing to exercise their own powers to stop the delegates’ massive fraud upon the Navajo Nation.”

Supplemental appropriations were unlawfully approved by using two strategies, according to Balaran, including falsely casting the appropriations as “related to an emergency,” or by waiving all Navajo Nation laws which might have impeded the appropriations or expenditures.

Those charged Thursday include: Alice W. Benally, Amos F. Johnson, Andy R. Ayze, Benjamin Curley, Bobby Robbins Sr., Cecil Frank Eriacho, Charles Damon II, Curran Hannon, Danny Simpson, David B. Rico, David Shondee, David L. Tom, Davis Filfred, Edmund E. Yazzie, Edward V. Jim Sr., Elbert R. Wheeler, Elmer P. Begay, Elmer L. Milford, Ernest D. Yazzie Jr., Ervin M. Keeswood Sr., Evelyn Actothley, Francis Redhouse, George Apachito, George Arthur, Gloria Jean Todacheene, Harriett K. Becenti, Harry H. Clark, Harry Claw, Harry Hubbard, Harry J. Willeto, Harry Williams Sr., Herman R. Morris, Hope MacDonald Lone Tree, Hoskie Kee, Ida M. Nelson, Jack Colorado, Jerry Freddie, Joe M. Lee, Johnny Naize, Jonathan Nez, Katherine Benally, Kee Allen Begay Jr., Kee Yazzie Mann, Kenneth Maryboy, Larry Anderson Sr., Larry Noble, Lee Jack Sr., Lena Manheimer, Leonard Anthony, Leonard Chee, Leonard Teller, Leonard Tsosie, Leslie Dele, Lorenzo Bedonie, LoRenzo C. Bates, Lorenzo Curley, Mel R. Begay, Nelson BeGaye, Nelson Gorman Jr., Norman John II, Omer Begay Jr., Orlanda Smith-Hodge, Pete Ken Atcitty, Peterson B. Yazzie, Phillip Harrison Jr., Preston McCabe Sr., Ralph Bennett, Ray Berchman, Raymond Joe, Raymond Maxx, Roy B. Dempsey, Roy Laughter, Sampson Begay, Thomas Walker Jr., Tim Goodluck, Tommy Tsosie, Willie Begay, Willie Tracey Jr., Woody Lee, Young Jeff Tom, Louis Denetsosie, Harrison Tsosie, Joe Shirley Jr., Mark Grant, Lawrence T. Morgan, and John Does 1-50.