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'On his last legs'

BCDS CEO was evicted from Farmington mansion, used BCDS workers, supplies, to build fish pond

By Jim Snyder
Tsé bit'a’ Bureau

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(Times photo - Jim Snyder)

Hak Ghun rented this Farmington mansion after he received a $2.2 million Navajo-backed loan to expand his BCDS business in Shiprock. Ghun was evicted in 2007 after he stopped paying his rent, according to his landlord. Ghun had previously lived inside the BCDS warehouse in Shiprock.

FARMINGTON, July 31, 2008

H

ak Ghun, former CEO of Navajo Nation-owned BCDS Manufacturing Inc., was so desperate for cash that he recently called his former landlord - who had evicted him for nonpayment of rent in 2007 - and asked him for money.

Ghun wanted to be paid for alterations he had made to a four-bedroom, 4,461-square-foot Farmington mansion that he leased soon after obtaining a $2.2 million business-expansion loan in September 2006. Prior to that he had been living in the BCDS warehouse in Shiprock, according to two people who worked with him.

Among the alterations he made to the palatial Farmington property was a fishpond. Ghun used BCDS workers and company supplies to build it, said Ronald Atcitty, a laid-off BCDS welder.

"(Ghun) did extensive damage to my property and then bailed on it," said Brad Ballard of B & L Construction in Aztec, N.M. Ballard is listed as the property's owner in San Juan County tax records.

"It was very strange that someone would do something like that and then call. What it seemed like to me was he was reaching for money, that he was on his last legs," Ballard said Monday, adding, "Especially since he was still a month out on rent to me and had broken a contract I could have very easily sued him on. It seemed very, very odd."

Ballard told Ghun it cost him more to repair the damage to the house than what Ghun claimed he'd put into it and wanted back.

Where's Ghun?

Ballard said he did not file a lawsuit against Ghun, who stopped paying rent eight months after signing the lease, because "how can you sue somebody who doesn't have anything? I mean, you can't find the guy. I'm wasting my time.



"I get phone calls all the time wanting to know who he is and where he is," Ballard said. "I'm sure they're collectors. ... Half the world is looking for him right now."

Ballard's company built the house, located at 4091 Vista Pi–on Dr., two years ago and it is currently on the market for $649,000.

Prior to renting the house from Ballard, Ghun slept in the BCDS facility, a former wool warehouse, confirmed Duane "Chili" Yazzie, Shiprock Chapter president, who did consulting work for the South Korea-born entrepreneur.

Yazzie, who said he still uses the computer in his office inside the BCDS building for his consulting business, was able to collect approximately $30,000 - out of $55,000 agree upon - for helping Ghun make the connections necessary to secure the Navajo Nation's backing for the $2.2 million bank loan.

Yazzie added that he went to the Farmington house twice to ask Ghun, unsuccessfully, for the rest of his consulting fee.

Ghun described the loan as an expansion loan, but information from Atcitty suggests that it was more of a bailout. Ghun sought to revamp BCDS after it lost a military contract to build Humvee hoods because it covered up bubbles in the fiberglass, said Atcitty, who worked on the hoods.

After BCDS lost that contract, Atcitty said he was put on an assembly line making flatbed trailers, the new business that Ghun wanted to develop.

The tribe put up money in its Navajo Dam Escrow Fund as collateral for the loan, which matures in September. The funds to repay it were to come from new contracts that Ghun was negotiating, but they never materialized.

Now it's up to the tribe, as 51 percent owner of BCDS, to make sure the lender, JPMorgan Chase Bank, is repaid.

After months of hoping a way would be found to revive BCDS operations and get revenue flowing again, the Navajo Nation Council wrote off the loan as a total loss in a July 16 special session.

Ghun, meanwhile, was removed as CEO in October and has not been seen for several months.

A tribal audit requested by Shiprock Chapter has accused Ghun of "massive misspending" and said he appeared to have squandered much of the loan money on personal spending, including a pricey casino habit.

The council, in last week's summer session, voted to hire a special prosecutor to investigate the tribe's involvement with BCDS and how it went wrong.

BCDS workers used

According to Atcitty, Ghun ordered several BCDS welders, whose assigned job was to build metal trailers, to help him move out of his office after the tribe removed him as CEO.

"We're still on the clock. We're told, 'you, you, you and you, come with me,'" Atcitty said, adding that one of the items Ghun took with him was an exercise treadmill he kept in his office. He left standard office equipment such as his desk behind, Atcitty added.

The welders were pulled off the production line to load a truck with Ghun's belongings. They then followed him for approximately 30 miles to Farmington, where they helped him unload everything into the house on Vista Pi–on Drive, Atcitty said.

Shiprock Bureau reporter Jim Snyder can be reached at premwriter@yahoo.com.

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