Tag Archives: Window Rock District Court

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.

9/15/2011 Navajo Times: Forgotten People seeking DOJ report

9/15/2011 Navajo Times: Forgotten People seeking DOJ report By Noel Lyn Smith: A court hearing has been set for the lawsuit filed by the Forgotten People and 12 other individuals seeking an accounting of the Navajo Rehabilitation Trust Fund. A pretrial conference is scheduled Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 1:30 p.m. before Judge T.J. Holgate in Window Rock District Court. The focus will be on a report the Navajo Nation Department of Justice was supposed to produce on the fund accounting, but has not yet, said a lawyer for the plaintiffs. The trust fund was established by Congress to benefit residents of the former Bennett Freeze and Hopi Partitioned Land. These funds, including accrued interest or investment income, are made available to the tribe “solely for purposes which will contribute to the continuing rehabilitation and improvement of the economic, educational and social condition of families and Navajo communities” affected by various events of the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute.

Money for the trust fund comes from federal appropriations and from money generated by surface and mineral interests in Paragon Ranch, located in northwest New Mexico.

James Zion, attorney for the Forgotten People, said his clients want to know the trust fund’s balance, how much has been spent, and what projects any money was allocated to.

The Forgotten People are residents of the former Bennett Freeze Area and is an association of survivors of the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute.

Both the account balance and expenditures have never been fully disclosed, Zion said.

The group continues to question the use of $7.4 million from the trust fund to purchase a 405-acre tract of land east of Flagstaff for the Twin Arrows Navajo Resort Casino.

In their civil complaint filed in 2010, plaintiffs asked for an accounting of all income, expenses, profits, losses, assets and other financial matters for which the tribe, the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission and the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Office have responsibility.

This is the second time a pretrial hearing has been scheduled.

The first pretrial conference was in January, where it was decided that the Navajo Nation’s Department of Justice would produce a report on the accounting actions of the trust fund, but that report was not made, Zion said.

“We’re hoping to move things forward on Wednesday,” he added.

The Forgotten People is inviting all interested parties to attend the conference.