Navajo ethics charges against Speaker Bates dismissed after settlement reached

Navajo Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates shows his skills as a waiter during the Navajo Nation Council special session at the Council chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., on March 13, 2015. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper credit when re-using photo.)

Navajo Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates shows his skills as a waiter during the Navajo Nation Council special session at the Council chambers in Window Rock, Ariz., on March 13, 2015. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper credit when re-using photo.)

Greetings Relatives/Frens/Humans,
I obtained a copy of the March 16, 2015, DISMISSAL/SETTLEMENT by the Navajo Office of Hearings & Appeals of a Sept. 12, 2014, ethics complaint filed against Navajo Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates by Ethics Director Vernon Roanhorse for forcing Roanhorse to publicly divulge confidential information during an Aug. 11, 2014, Council session regarding alleged ethics complaints against Council Delegates serving on the Navajo Oil & Gas Board.

I’m trying to obtain a copy of the ethics complaint.

And I learned about the DISMISSAL/SETTLEMENT of Bates’ ethics complaint from his public relations officer, Jared Touchin on Tuesday, April 1, 2015, after I posted the following comment on my Facebook page on April 1, 2015:
“The following PRESS RELEASE from Navajo Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates, who by the way is still under tribal ethics investigation, and President Ben Shelly, who was never voted in by we, The People, to continue his reign of fossil fuel terror, was emailed out at about 5:30 p.m. today. There were no court documents attached. But basically, Bates – on behalf of the Council – and Shelly – on behalf of Shelly – are challenging a Navajo Supreme Court decision that has been repeatedly argued in and out of court since the Navajo Office of Hearings & Appeals made its decision to disqualify Chris Clark-Deschene on Oct. 9, 2014. And the Referendum is not about allowing we, The People, to vote on what we, The People, deserve and need in a presidential candidate. Actually, we, The People, need a Referendum to decide the qualifications for ALL our elected officials, especially political appointees, like Attorney General Harrison Tsosie. This so-called Referendum is about qualifying disqualified presidential candidate Chris Clark-Deschene by removing the current Navajo language fluency requirement and replacing it with the requirement that a presidential candidate speaks the Navajo and English language. This is what happens when politics pollutes the sacred language of the Holy Ones. And talking about pollution. What is Bates/Council doing about all the Fracking in Eastern Navajo and Utah Navajo? I called Navajo Environmental Protection Agency Director Stephen Etsitty to ask him about how the tribal government is protecting we, The People, from Fracking. But Etsitty was on travel. I left a message for him to call me. I’m sure he will. Don’t you? May Peace Prevail on Mother Earth!”

Touchine informed me that the Office of Hearings & Appeals dismissed the ethics complaint against Bates shortly after Bates became speaker in January 2015. Council speaker candidate/Council Delegate Alton Shepherd handed the speakership to Bates after there was tie vote between Bates and Shepherd.

But according to the March 16, 2015, OHA dismissal, the dismissal is based on a SETTLEMENT between Bates and Roanhorse.

“The Office of Hearings and Appeals further finds that the parties in this action have addressed the matter herein by settling the matter themselves and the issue has been worked out confidentially with Council Delegates as members of the 23rd Navajo Nation Council and the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas issue being rendered moot, the Navajo Nation Ethics and Rules Office hereby moves for a dismissal of the case with prejudice against respondent, Speaker LoRenzo Bates, pursuant to Rule 14 Dismissal of Complaint of the Administrative Hearing Rules” the OHA stated in its March 16 dismissal of Roanhorse’s Sept. 12, 2014, ethics complaint against Bates.

The March 16 dismissal was concurred by Bates.

According to a Jan. 24, 2015, Farmington Daily Times news story about the ethics complaint, the Ethics and Rules Office asked the Office of Hearings and Appeals to schedule an administrative hearing regarding Bates’s alleged abuse of his position as Speaker Pro Tem for ordering Roanhorse to disclose or use confidential information.

Roanhorse also asked the OHA to suspend Bates from office for 30 days and force him to forfeit all compensation and benefits. A public apology and other sanctions also are being sought, the Farmington Daily Times reported..

Now what bothers me about this DISMISSAL/SETTLEMENT is that when Bates was a candidate for Council Speaker, there was an ethics complaint against him. And under the rules/laws of the Council, a candidate for Speaker and a Speaker must be in “good standing.” So does this mean that a Speaker and a candidate for Speaker are in “good standing” even with an Ethics In Government complaints staring at him or her and we, The People, in the face?

Read the entire OHA DISMISSAL/SETTLEMENT because it cites Navajo LAW regarding the confidentiality of ethics complaints. But according to the OHA DISMISSAL/SETTLEMENT, Roanhorse and Bates felt that a SETTLEMENT was higher than Navajo law because they used another law, Dine’ Fundamental Law

But then again, the Ethics & Rules Office is under the Legislative Branch/Council/Speaker.

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