New report shows bribery, conspiracy, abuse of office in slush fund case

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

WINDOW ROCK, Sept. 12, 2013

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Recent filings by the Navajo Nation's special prosecutor allege even more widespread corruption among former and current members of the Navajo Nation Council concerning the tribe's discretionary funds.

Last month, the special prosecutors field charges of bribery, abuse of office and conspiracy against nine former and current members of the Council but the complaints, which were released last week, allege that in each case dozens of tribal members were involved directly or indirectly.

Here is a rundown of each of the charges against the nine defendants:

Harry H. Clark

Clark served as a delegate from 1999 to 2011, representing Chinle.

In July 2009, Harry Williams Sr., who represented Coalmine Canyon and Toh Nanees Dizi chapters, allegedly provided $3,000 in checks to Clark's family. In exchange, Clark allegedly gave $1,500 each to William's son, Eugene, and his wife Lorraine Williams.

From February 2005 to November 2009, prosecutors say, Clark authorized payments of $9,050 to the family of fellow Council delegate Harry Willetto, who represented Nageezi.

Willetto's family allegedly received at least 21 checks from Clark's discretionary fund account. The checks ranged from $250 to $500 and were issued to Willetto's wife, daughters and sons for everything from educational assistance to payment for traditional Navajo ceremonies, according to prosecutors.

In exchange, Willetto allegedly authorized 21 checks totaling $9,050 to Clark's family to pay for everything from educational assistance to auto loans.

From May 2005 to December 2009, Clark allegedly authorized payments of $7,050 in assistance to the family of Council delegate Andy Ayze, who represented Chinle. Over the same period, Ayze allegedly gave assistance to Clark's family for the same amount.

Clark's wife, Priscilla, alone received checks for $4,750 from Ayze, the complaint says.

From February to October 2008 Clark is alleged to have provided $2,500 in financial aid to the family of Harry Claw, who represented Chinle. Claw, in return, provided the same amount to Clark's family, say the attorneys.

Hoskie Kee

Kee served as a Council delegate for Littlewater, Baca/Prewitt and Casamero Lake chapters.

On Dec. 24, 2009, prosecutors say, he gave Michele Morgan, the wife of former speaker of the Council Lawrence T. Morgan, a check for $600 to pay for travel to and from Los Angeles for the Christmas holidays. On the same day, Morgan gave Kee's family a check for $600 for "youth enrichment," according to the complaint.

It's also alleged that Kee gave Morgan's son, K.L.M., a check for $600 about the same time to pay for his holiday travel. In exchange, Morgan allegedly authorized another check to Kee's family for $600.

In January 2009, prosecutors allege Kee authorized a check for $4,363 to Colleen Mannie, sister-in-law of Tommy Tsosie, who represented Lechee, to pay her bills since she had been unemployed for six months. On the same day, the complaint says, Tsosie authorized a check for the same amount to Kee's family to pay for a trip to San Antonio, Texas.

On April 22, 2008, Kee allegedly authorized a check for $300 to Mary Tom, the sister of Young Jeff Tom, who represented the Mariano Lake and Smith Lake chapters, because of financial hardship. On the day before, Tom gave Kee's family $300, prosecutors say.

In March 2008, checks of $500 had allegedly been exchanged, going to Young Jeff Tom Jr. for hardship and Kee's wife, Ruby Hunter, to pay for propane.

In December 2007, prosecutors say Kee accepted $2,000 from delegate David Tom, who represented Beclabito and Gaadiiahi at the time. The money allegedly went to his wife for a vehicle payment. On the same day Kee allegedly gave Tom's wife, Carolyn a check for $2,000 to help pay her mortgage.




Harry Willeto

Willeto represented Nageezi, Ojo Encino and Counselor.

His alleged dealings with Harry Clark are outlined above.

In February 2009, Jack Colorado, who represented Bodaway/Gap, Cameron and Coppermine Canyon allegedly gave Willeto's daughter, Veronica, $500 for education expenses. On the same day, Willeto allegedly gave Colorado's wife, Lucy, $500 "to finish up house renovation."

In November 2008, checks of $500 were allegedly exchanged, with Willeto giving the money to Colorado's daughter, Edith Charleston, for travel expenses and Colorado giving it to Wiletto's son Darry for housing repairs.

Harry Williams Sr.

During the time in question, Williams represented Coalmine Canyon and Toh Nanees Dizi chapters.

His alleged dealings with Harry Clark are outlined above.

In May 2009, he allegedly authorized a check for $500 to be given to the daughter of Evelyn Acothley, who represented Bodaway/Gap, Cameron and Coppermine, to be used to pay her rent. On the same day, Acothley allegedly authorized a check for $500 for Williams' wife, Lorraine, to be used to pay for a Navajo ceremony.

In February, 2009, Acothley's granddaughter, S.C., allegedly received a check for $500 from Williams to help pay for her costs at ASU. In exchange, Williams' daughter allegedly received a check from Acothley for $500 for youth enrichment.

In November 2008, another series of $500 checks were allegedly exchanged by the two delegates with Acothley's daughter and Williams' son, Leland, getting the money.

Williams' other son, Eugene, got his share in October, 2008, receiving from Acothley $800 for vehicle repair, the complaint states. Acothley's son, Al, allegedly received a similar amount from Williams for educational expenses.

Jack Colorado

At the time, Colorado represented Bodaway/Gap, Cameron and Coppermine chapters.

In November 2009, he allegedly gave a check to Council delegate Evelyn Acothley's son, Darrell, for $500 to help make his financial payments since he was laid off. On the same day, Acothley allegedly gave Colorado's son Loren $500 to buy clothing for work as well as to pay some of his household expenses.

Acothley's other son, Al, allegedly received a $500 payment from Colorado in August 2009 to help pay for his educational expenses. In exchange, Acothley gave Colorado's son Cedric $500 because of "financial hardship," the complaint reads.

In that same month, the prosecutors say, Colorado gave $500 to the grandson of Council delegate Lena Manheimer, who represented Tsah Bii Kin and Navajo Mountain. He wanted the money to pay for his cell phone bill. In exchange, according to the complaint, Manheimer allegedly gave Colorado's son Jackson $500 to buy winter clothes since he was unemployed.

In July 2009, Manheimer's son Wilbert and her granddaughter, Magdalene, each allegedly received $500 from Colorado's account to pay for, respectively, graduation expenses and buy a computer. In exchange, Colorado's sons, Jackson and Loren, allegedly received $500 each to pay for expenses and clothing.

In February 2009, Colorado allegedly approved a payment for Julie Milford, wife of Council delegate Elmer Milford, who represented Fort Defiance. The money was to be used for a medical appointment. On the same day, Milford allegedly approved a $400 payment to Colorado's son Loren for car repairs.

Another check for $500 allegedly went from Colorado to Milford's son, Erwyn, in January 2009 to pay for a medical appointment in Albuquerque. A similar check went from Milford to Colorado's son Jackson for weatherizing of his home, according to prosecutors.

Leonard Teller

At the time, he represented Tachee, Blue Gap and Whippoorwill chapters.

In January 2009, Teller allegedly gave a check for $500 to the daughter of Raymond Joe, Carletta, for "hardship." Joe represented the Tachee, Blue Gap and Whippoorwill chapters. In exchange, Joe allegedly gave Teller's son, Jerald, a $500 check for educational needs.

In March 2008, he allegedly gave another $500 to Alene Claw, the daughter of Harry Claw. The money was to be used for educational purposes. In exchange, Claw allegedly gave Teller's daughter, Celestina Luna, $500 also for education purposes.

In the next month, Teller and Council delegate Raymond Joe allegedly exchanged $500 checks with Joe's daughter, Carletta, receiving $500 and Teller's daughter, Amanda, receiving the same amount to help pay for their education.

In March 2008, Teller allegedly exchanged $500 checks with Council delegate Harry Claw with their daughters, Alene Claw and Amanda Teller, benefiting. Similar checks went to Evelyn Acothley's daughter and Amanda Teller also in March, according to the complaint.

In January, 2008, the complaint reads, checks for $400 were exchanged with current Speaker of the Council Johnny Naize, who at the time represented Tselani, Cottonwood and Nazlini. Naize's sister, Sarah, got hers to help pay for vehicle repairs, allegedly, while Teller's son, J.R., got his for educational purposes.

Orlanda Smith-Hodge

She represented Cornfields, Greasewood Springs, Wide Ruins and Klagetoh on the Council.

In May 2007, she allegedly authorized a payment of $850 to A.B. Smith-Hodge, who was only eight years old at the time. She later transferred the money into her own account, prosecutors say. They allege she did this again in September 2007 for $500, October 2007 for $550, and in August 2008 for $209.

She is also accused of exchanging checks with Council delegate Roy Dempsey for $500 in July 2009 with the money allegedly going to Dempsey's wife, Laverne and to Smith-Hodge's eight-year-old son.

Allegedly, in May 2009, she gave a check for $600 to Seth Damon, son of Charles Damon, who represented Churchrock and Breadsprings chapters on the Council. In exchange, he gave a $600 check to Smith-Hodge's daughter, Gabrielle, prosecutors say.

Another check, this time for $700, went to Seth Damon in February 2009 to help pay for expenses at the Denver University Law School, the complaint states. This time, the exchange check allegedly went to Smith-Hodge's husband Jim for educational purposes.

Al Acothley, son of Evelyn Acothley, allegedly received $500 from Smith-Hodge in January 2009 with Smith-Hodge's husband allegedly getting another $500 for educational expenses. Acothley's other son, Darell, allegedly received $500 in August, 2008 to help pay for his rent in exchange for a similar payment to Smith-Hodge's daughter, Nicole.

Vivian Hubbard, the wife of Council delegate Harry Hubbard, who represented Becenti, Lake Valley, Standing Rock and White Rock chapters, was given $500 by Smith-Hodge in January, 2009 to help pay her utility bill, the complaint states. In exchange Hubbard allegedly gave a similar amount to Smith-Hodge's daughter, Gabrielle, for education expenses.

According to the lawyers, Smith-Hodge gave $1,000 in April, 2008 to Carolyn Sangster, the sister of Council delegate Curran Hanson, to be used for her daughter's medical expenses and for a traditional ceremony. In exchange, allegedly, Smith-Hodge's husband received another $1,000.

Raymond Joe

Joe represented the Tachee/Blue Gap and Whippoorwill chapters.

His alleged dealings with Leonard Teller are detailed above.

In January 2009, he agreed to give Johnny Naize's seven-year-old son $700 for school books and supplies, according to the complaint. In exchange, it's alleged, his daughter Carletta received $700 to help pay for her expenses at Arizona State University.

Naize's stepdaughter, E.L.O., allegedly received $600 from Joe to pay for "equipment for environmental science class" while Naize allegedly paid him back by giving $600 to Joe's wife to pay for her daughter's field trip to Tucson.

Another $700 went to the family of Council delegate Tom LaPahe in January 2009, prosecutors say. LaPahe's son, Ryan, received the money for tuition to ASU. In exchange, Joe's son, Alexander Altsoba, received a similar check for tuition payments from LaPahe, according to the complaint.

LaPahe's wife, Louisa, allegedly received another $700 form Joe to pay for her utility payment in exchange for a similar payment to Joe's wife, Cecilia, to pay her heating bills.

Young Jeff Tom

Tom represented at the time the Mariano Lake and Smith Lake chapters.

He is accused of giving $800 to Natasha Lee, daughter of Council delegate Woody Lee, who represented Sweetwater chapter, to help pay for her daughter's day care. In exchange, the complaint alleges, Woody gave Tom's sister and son each $400 to pay for their apartment rentals.

He also allegedly gave $500 to Tom Morgan, the father of then Speaker of the Council Lawrence T. Morgan to help pay his livestock feed. In exchange,prosecutors say, Morgan gave $500 to Tom's son to help pay for his utilities.

In January 2009, he allegedly gave $500 to Ruth Apachito, the wife of Council delegate George Apachito. In exchange, Apachito allegedly gave $500 to Tom's son. Another $600 allegedly was exchanged between the two in January 2008.

Another $500 went to the wife of Tim Goodluck Sr., who represented Lupton and Oak Springs chapters, the prosecutors say. In exchange, they allege, Tom's son received another $500.

Hoskie Kee, the Council delegate from Littlewater, Baca/Prewitt and Casamero Lake, gave Tom's daughter, Mary, $300 in April 2008 in exchange for a $300 check to Kee's eight-year-old son for "youth enrichment," the complaint states.

Contact Bill Donovan at news@navajotimes.com.

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