Audit: $129,000 in unauthorized payments made by Navajo Mountain official

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

WINDOW ROCK, April 11, 2013

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An audit of the financial books for the Navajo Mountain Chapter has discovered that the chapter made more than $129,000 in unauthorized payments to the chapter's community services coordinator and to vendors in 2011 and 2012.

The audit done by the Office of the Auditor General, released to the public this week, said the former community service coordinator for the chapter "disregarded her fiduciary responsibility and issued 54 unauthorized chapter checks to herself totaling $55,595 over the two years."

Much of these funds were for expenses paid without providing proper documentation to justify them.

For example, the former chapter official, whose name has not been released, paid checks to herself for $26,512 for travel without providing documentation to justify the expenses. Another $4,185 was used for miscellaneous expenses, which also did not have justifying documents.

The audit also discovered $8,938 made out to her for repairs to her personal vehicle, which is not allowed under tribal and chapter policies.

There were also five checks that were posted to vendors for building supplies and to an individual as a scholarship. When the auditors checked with the bank, however, they discovered that the checks were actually paid to the former coordinator.

"The action of posing a different payee into the accounting system indicates an intentional act by the former community service coordinator to conceal the chapter checks she issued to herself to defraud the chapter," the audit states.

The audit also found 59 checks processed to Wal-Mart and Sam's Club totaling $76,996, with only 11 checks totaling $3,693 supported with receipts.

"Based on the action by the former community service coordinator, it was apparent that these payments were for personal purchases," the audit stated.

The investigation revealed that the chapter did not have an administrative manager during those month which "allowed the former community service coordinator to issue checks to herself without detection."

Talking to chapter officials on Thursday, while they wouldn't comment about the charges made in the audit, they did say that the chapter has now hired an administrative manager to oversee the disbursal of checks.

Tegan and Sara to perform Monday in Flagstaff

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK -- The city of Flagstaff is about to be invaded by indie sensations Tegan and Sara as they gear up to play at the Orpheum Theater on Monday, April 15 as part of their tour for their new album, "Heartthrob."

Heartthrob is Tegan and Sara's 7th studio album in the past 13 years and introduced it to fans with their single "Closer." They have been on the road since promoting their new album since.

"We're really enjoying playing the new album live and it's helped give a stronger dynamic to the old material so that has meant the biggest and best show of our career," Sara Quin said in an email to the Navajo Times from Las Vegas, Nev. before their show at the Cosmopolitan on April 10.

"Performing for fans," Sara said of what she enjoys most about tour life. "We think we have the best fans in the world and there's nothing we enjoy more than playing for them live."

She added that the duo looks forward to returning to Flagstaff because they haven't performed there in a few years.

Heartthrob features 10 original tracks, according to Sara, and this album is different from their previous work because "this record is definitely a Tegan and Sara version of a pop record. We wanted to pay homage to the Pop Icons of our youth but also do something that would sound modern and fresh. To us it's all about great song writing and I think these ten tracks are the best we've ever written."

"We try and explore new aesthetics and Sonics on each album so that none of them sound similar," she added. "There is a lot of flexibility to try new things and expand the scope of our songwriting every time we sit down to work on new material."

According to Tegan and Sara's biography, the sisters Tegan Quin and Sara Quin originally from Canada began playing guitar and writing songs when they were 15, and this led to their first independent full-length album release in 1999, "Under Feet like Ours."

That album earned them enough recognition to get signed through Vapor Records, which released their first international album, "The Business of Art."

Since 2003, Tegan and Sara have headlined tours in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, consistently selling out venues around the world. How have fans reacted to their version of a pop record?

What can fans expect from Tegan and Sara's upcoming performance at the Orpheum? Sara said they will be performing "plenty of catalog material for the die-hard fans and all of the new album for people who are just discovering our band."

"Right now every night is exciting because we're still getting used to performing this new show," Sara said. "There is an electricity to each performance that is amazing."

Sara said she's never visited the Navajo Nation, but she would love to visit it one day.

If you miss Tegan and Sara this time around you'll have to wait until this coming fall when they return to Phoenix in Sept.

Tickets are still available for the Tegan and Sara show on April 15, but they are "likely to sell out," said Charles Smith owner of the Orpheum Theatre.

Tickets can be purchased at The Orpheum Theatre is located in historic downtown Flagstaff on 15 W. Aspen St.

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