Published March 11, 2018
WINDOW ROCK – The Navajo Nation is seeking more than a million dollars from the president of the Ramah Navajo Chapter after he reportedly invested $6 million in settlement funds without getting permission from the tribe.
Because of his actions, the tribe is claiming that it lost $1.07 million when the investment firm he placed part of the funds in went bankrupt. As a result, the Navajo Nation Ethics and Rules Office has filed 12 complaints against David Jose, the chapter’s president, claiming he violated tribal laws by placing the funds in various funds and banks under the chapter’s name without first vetting the companies or getting tribal approval.
The ethics office is now seeking to get Jose to repay these losses out of his own pocket. Jose declined to comment on the issue. The matter has been turned over to the Navajo Nation Office of Hearings and Appeals for a hearing on the complaints.
OHA officials said Wednesday that a date for this hearing has not been set. The complaint stems from funds the chapter was allocated as a result of a class action suit filed by the chapter against the federal government in 1990.
In the settlement, the federal government agreed to pay out a total of $940 million to tribes across the country in connection with a dispute over improper contract support payments made by various federal agencies over three decades.
According to the complaint, after the funds were turned over to the chapter, Jose “continuously harassed” the director of the chapter’s contracts and grants program, Darnell Marie, and the office’s controller, Priscilla Wayne, to release the funds to him, threatening to fire them if they did not do it.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.