Employee: Whippoorwill prez took tools from chapter


A Whippoorwill Chapter employee said Friday Chapter President Jennifer Begay took $56,000 worth of industrial-grade mechanic’s tools to her home after purchasing them with chapter funds, and is now attempting to return them.

The employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that about a month ago, Begay ordered the tools for the chapter but before they were ever used she removed them from the chapter warehouse and took them to her home.

She asked the employee to fill out an insurance form declaring the tools stolen, he said, but he refused.

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Whippoorwill Springs Chapter President Jennifer Begay weathers criticism from a constituent at the chapter house in Whippoorwill June 14.

On Friday, according to Vice President Denis Tom, Begay called the chapter several times asking to return the tools. Tom said Begay was told she couldn’t do that because the tools may be evidence in the audit the chapter is currently undergoing.

“We are telling her we’re not going to just take them back,” he said.

Contact information for Begay could not be found.

Tom said he was meeting with personnel from the Navajo Nation Department of Justice to discuss options to remove Begay from her position on an emergency basis.

He added he and Chapter Secretary/Treasurer Peter Sage want to bring back Chapter Manager Paulette Johnson, whom Begay had placed on administrative leave without her fellow officials’ knowledge or consent.

The men on Wednesday hand-delivered a letter to Begay asking her to step down after she and her family members were seen in the locked chapter office rifling through documents and using the copy machine. Begay had been asked to stay out of the office during the audit.

Begay had also conducted a meeting on Wednesday without Tom or Sage present. She said at that meeting the letter was not an official court order and she would not comply with it. She declined to comment on the men’s allegations.

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Categories: News

About Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at editor@navajotimes.com.