Council, prez trade volleys in Remington proposal

WINDOW ROCK

President Russell Begaye says he had no idea the Navajo Nation Council was considering a proposal to purchase firearms manufacturer Remington Arms Co. LLC until the news blew up on social media.

“The attorney general of the Navajo Nation was unaware of these negotiations being made,” Begaye said in a written statement. “The Budget and Finance Committee discussed this proposal in secret during an executive session … Neither the Office of the Controller nor the Legislative Branch communicated the $525 million cash offer with the president’s office or staff.”

According to the Associated Press, Remington, which is in bankruptcy proceedings, did receive an offer of up to $525 million from the tribe and turned it down.

Speaker LoRenzo Bates countered in a press release that “President Begaye’s office was directly involved in discussions.

“Whether or not his staff communicated with him is not the problem of the Council,” Bates said.

According to Bates’ release, the proposal was brought to the Navajo Nation Council and officials within the executive branch by the tribe’s controller, Pearline Kirk.

“The controller recommended to initiate discussions with Remington and to begin the due diligence on Navajo involvement,” the release states.

Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Seth Damon stated the acquisition, if the tribe decides to pursue it, “has the potential of bringing potentially thousands of needed jobs to the Navajo Nation.”

Two widely circulated rumors are false, the release states: that the deal was finalized with no public involvement, and that payment would be from the Permanent Trust Fund.

Begaye said that nonetheless, the proposal should not have even been considered without running it by the tribe’s attorney general and the controller has flouted Navajo Nation law by discussing the sale with outside attorneys.


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Categories: Politics

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 cyurth@navajotimes.com.