Don’t fight charges, just resign, former delegate says

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David John, right, is recognized by the Farmington City Council recently for his years of service on the Human Relations Commission. He is shown with Mayor Tommy Roberts.

FARMINGTON

David John doesn’t have much sympathy toward members of the Navajo Nation Council who steal money and then refuse to admit they did anything wrong.

John served on the Navajo Nation Council for three terms, resigning in 2003 after an ethics violation had been filed against him for accepting free rooms at the Quality Inn in Window Rock.

The Quality Inn, formerly known as the Window Rock Inn, was tribally owned and there had been reports that the Inn had been giving out rooms free to Council members in order to curry favor.

John, who represented Mexican Water, found himself in the middle of the controversy and decided to resign rather than try to fight it.

He said at the time he asked the management of the motel to release the names of all the tribal officials they provided free rooms to but that list never saw the light of day, in his opinion, because it would have implicated a lot of high ranking members of the Council.

“Some of this goes back to when (Peter) MacDonald was in office,” he said.

While he admits he did wrong, he said, he also feels he did the right thing by resigning as opposed to those who were charged with ethical violations in the years after he left office and refused to admit any wrongdoing.

He said the advice he offered to those who got implicated in the financial disclosure fund controversy was “just resign. Don’t fight it.”

He feels that those members of the Council who deny any wrongdoing and then made deals with the special prosecutor hurt themselves more than if they just admitted their guilt in the first place and resigned.

“I didn’t take any money,” he said.

But when it was revealed that he took free rooms, he realized he had done wrong and decided to resign so he could go on with his life.

He said he feels that those who do wrong and refuse to admit it are sending the wrong message to young Navajos.

“No one is above the law,” he said.

By refusing to admit their guilt, John said he felt it hurt them more because the allegations would be brought up again and again and each time the delegate would have to deny any wrongdoing.
John’s problems came at a time when tribal officials were coming under fire for taking gifts. Former Navajo Nation President Albert Hale, who resigned to quell allegations of ethical violations, came under fire and resigned in part because of accusations he allowed others to pay for his golf fees at Phoenix golf courses.

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