Navajo President Placed on Leave Pending Investigation

Joe Shirley Jr., president of the Navajo Nation, was placed on administrative leave today, pending an investigation into ethical, civil, or criminal involvement with two companies with tribal contracts.

During a special session of the Navajo Nations Tribal Council, members voted 48-22 to place Shirley on leave during the investigation as it looks into tribal dealings with the two companies.

The investigation stems from complaints about contracts with Utah-based OnSat Network Communications Inc., and Shiprock, New Mexico-based Biochemical Decontamination Systems.

Two complaints involve OnSat, the company contracted to provide Internet access to the Nation's 110 chapters across the country for $1.9 million. The complaints say the Nation, under Shirley's leadership, was charged for services it never received.

The third complaint against Shirley stems from a $2.2 million J.P. Morgan loan to Biochemical Decontamination Systems where funds from the Navajo Dam Escrow Account were used as collateral.

Calls to Shirley's Window Rock office were not returned.

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