TSE BONITO, N.M.
The Resource and Development Committee told Navajo Agriculture Products Industry, Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers, Inc. and Upland Desert Popcorn, L.L.C they have two weeks to come back to the table, attend mediation and resolve the lease issues that have been brewing between them.
If they can’t come up with a lease agreement, the committee, which oversees NAPI, may do it for them.
During the regular committee meeting Tuesday, PPF/UDP came before the committee with a legislation sponsored by Budget and Finance Committee member Leonard Tsosie (Littlewater/Pueblo Pintado/Torreon/Whitehorse Lake/Baca/Prewitt/Casamero Lake/Ojo Encino/Counselor) asking the oversight committee to authorize a 15-year lease for the entities to continue their agri-business.
“For many years NAPI and Pumpkin Patch got along together,” said Tsosie. “When I learned about the stress between NAPI and Pumpkin Patch more than two years ago I respectfully asked, along with other delegates, for NAPI to resolve it. It never happened.”
The proposed lease would see PPF/UDP pay $150 per irrigated acre for the use of Navajo Nation lands. PPF/UDP will pay a flat rate of $25,000 annually to NAPI for electric power and the RDC will approve, authorize and direct the Water Code Administration and the Department of Water Resources to issue a water use permit for irrigated agriculture in the amount of $100,000 annually.
Recently, NAPI filed a civil lawsuit against PPF/UDP on the grounds that both companies failed to register as foreign corporations under the Navajo Corporation Act and refused to pay a debt owed to NAPI. They are also suing ex parte, which asks for the judge to rule without hearing PPF/UDP’s side.