143-page criminal complaint against Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize

Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize leaving the Navajo Nation Window Rock District Court on March 11, 2014, where he pleaded not guilty to all of his 12 criminal charges that were filed against him by the Navajo Nation Special Prosecutors. Photo by Marley Shebala

Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize leaving the Navajo Nation Window Rock District Court on March 11, 2014, where he pleaded not guilty to all of his 12 criminal charges that were filed against him by the Navajo Nation Special Prosecutors. Photo by Marley Shebala

The Navajo Nation Special Prosecutors filed 11 criminal charges against Navajo Council Speaker Johnny Naize on Dec. 3, 2013, that were related to the alleged misuse of the tribal Financial Assistance Program, which later became known as the tribal discretionary funds or slush fund.

On Feb. 20, 2014, the Special Prosecutors filed an additional criminal charge of bribery against Naize, which increased the criminal charges to 12.

On March 11, 2014, Naize pleaded not guilty to all 12 criminal charges.

According to Naize’s criminal complaints, he is facing one charge of conspiracy to commit bribery with former Speaker Lawrence Morgan and former Council Delegates Elmer Milford, Raymond Joe, Andy Ayze, George Arthur, Orlinda Smith-Hodge, Leonard Teller, and Harry Willeto and current Council Delegate David Tom.

The 11 counts of bribery facing Naize involve Morgan, Milford, Joe, Ayze, Arthur and Willeto.

The additional charge that the Special Proseutors filed against Naize on Feb. 20, 2014, involved as bribery complaint against Willeto.

According to Nazie’s 143-pages of criminal charges, a total of $36,550 from the tribal Financial Assistance Program was diverted to Naize and his family through a scheme of “You scratch my back and I will scratch your back” that involved two delegates. Delegate A would authorize a certain amount of money to a family member of Delegate B, with the understanding that Delegate B would, in return, authorize an equivalent sum of money to Delegate A’s family member.

Under the Navajo Nation Ethics in Government Law, Delegates are prohibited from authorizing family assistance to a family member. And according to the Special Prosecutors, this scheme of “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back” had the same legal and procedural effect as authorizing financial assistance directly to one’s own family member, which made it illegal.

The tribal Financial Assistance Program was intended for Navajo elders on a fixed income who needed help with housing, fuel, transportation, medical assistance and food. It was also for students attending high school, college, vocational school, or short-term educational programs, who needed help with tuition, clothing, books, lodging, transportation and educational materials. Also the list for financial assistance were Navajo families needing burial or other emergency assistance and for senior citizens, chapters, youth activities, veterans and traditional ceremonies.

Today, April 4, 2014, the Council is having a one-day special session to deliberate and take action on LEGISLATION 0069-14, which is the removal of Naize as speaker. Naize will still be a delegate.

Here are Naize’s criminal complaints:
WR-CR-758-13 Amended Criminal Complaint Conspiracy Charge
WR-CR-759-13 Bribery Charge 1
WR-CR-760-13 Bribery Charge 2
WR-CR-761-13 Bribery Charge 3
WR-CR-762-13 Bribery Charge 4
WR-CR-763-13 Bribery Charge 5
WR-CR-764-13 Bribery Charge 6
WR-CR-765-!3 Bribery Charge 7
WR-CR-766-13 Bribery Charge 8
WR-CR-767-13 Bribery Charge 9
WR-CR-768-13 Bribery Charge 10
WR-CR-93-14 Bribery Charge 11

One thought on “143-page criminal complaint against Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize

  1. Im shocked! I really thought the Navajo Nation held it together epecially the speaker of the house. Dine’ are supposed to look out for each other and not against each other. Im ashamed of the prople involved. Disgraced to the Navajo Nation. I dont live on the Rez but read this article on F.B. If he is gulity, he or they should be procecuted to the fullest for taking from the Dine’. Why do we put people in office that are going to steal from us? Never know I guess till money comes into play. God Bless the NAVAJO NATION!!!

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