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Navajo President Placed on Leave Pending Investigation

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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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