Documents expose secret negotiations within Navajo Nation, and how contracted consultants stood to make $10 million on Remington Arms purchase
By Brenda Norrell
Copyright Censored News
A consultant company received $150,000 per month from the Navajo Nation, during secret negotiations for the purchase of bankrupt Remington Arms last year, according to documents obtained by Censored News.
If the deal had gone through, the consultant firm would have received up to $10 million.
The details are in documents which are now part of a criminal investigation by the Navajo Nation, and obtained by Censored News.
As the coronavirus spread and claimed hundreds of Dine' lives during the spring of 2020, secret negotiations were underway within the Navajo Budget and Finance Committee to purchase Remington Arms for $300 million.
Remington was facing bankruptcy and the financial risks involved lawsuits over mass murders with automatic weapons, including the murder of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Still, attorneys and consultants hired on contract by the Navajo Nation could make money -- if they could secure the deal.
During the Navajo Council's Budget and Finance Committee meeting in June of 2020, it was decided to eliminate the name of "Remington Arms" from the tribal resolution involving the purchase.
A tribal employee warned that if the information got out to the news media, then the deal could be killed, according to documents obtained by Censored News.
The tribal resolution regarding the Remington purchase was made public without the name of the bankrupt weapons manufacturer "Remington Arms."
Censored News is requesting that the Navajo Nation make public the name of the consulting firm responsible; the name of the attorney who was subcontracted for the deal; and the tribal employee who promoted the sale to the Navajo Budget and Finance Committee.
The criminal investigation comes after a second contract was exposed last week.
This contract was to Agile Technologies for coronavirus services. It was an emergency sole source contract granted by the tribal controller, according to the Navajo Nation Council.
Although the contract expired in December, Agile continues to test Navajo employees and the public with COVID-19 antigen and antibody tests that are not approved by the CDC, the Navajo Nation Council said last week.
The unauthorized $3 million tribal contract, using federal CARES Act funds, expired in December, the Navajo Council said.
Agile continued COVID-19 services during the visit of First Lady Jill Biden to the Navajo Nation during April.
Agile publicized its services to the Navajo Nation -- including "bipolar ionized necklaces," watch-like wearables to monitor body functions, and ionized building purification -- in a marketing campaign published by Yahoo News.
As a result of the contract to Agile, the Navajo Nation Council voted to remove the tribal controller on Wednesday.
The Navajo Nation issued a cease and desist order to Agile Technologies.
Earlier, there was an attempt in 2018 for the Navajo Nation to purchase Remington Arms for $525 million in cash, which fell through, the New York Times reported.
Ultimately, Remington was sold for far less, $155 million.
Documents just obtained by Censored News show the law firm working on the deal in 2018 was paid $530,000 by the Navajo Nation.
Meanwhile, while the secret deal was negotiated last year, Dine' died from the coronavirus. Isolated elderly and families depended on volunteers, who raised their own funds, to deliver food, water and cleaning supplies to their homes.
Many Dine' sent home from hospitals with coronavirus were too weak and sick to haul water or buy groceries. Many died.
Now, 1,301 Dine' have died from coronavirus.
In June, when the Remington Arms deal was negotiated, the Navajo Nation received federal virus relief, but delayed distributing it to Dine'.
The Navajo Nation received $714 million in federal CARES Act funds in June of 2020. However, the tribe delayed distributing relief checks to Navajos for eight months.
In August of 2020, as COVID-19 spread and deaths increased, the Navajo Nation allocated $24 million of federal CARES Act funds for its casinos.
About the author
Brenda Norrell began reporting for the Navajo Times in 1982. During the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation, she was a stringer for Associated Press for five years, and freelance reporter for USA Today. After serving as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated. She created Censored News in 2006 to expose what is being censored.
Copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News, no portion may be used without permission.
Navajo President Nez appoints Elizabeth Begay, acting controller. Statement.
Censored News: Cease and desist order to Agile Technologies
Censored News: Unauthorized COVID-19 contract by Agile Technologies used in marketing campaign, before First Lady visit to Navajo Nation:
Daily Times reports Agile adminstered coronavirus tests to council delegates and public, as required by the Navajo Council speaker, during the April council session. The Council now says the type of COVID-19 tests are not approved by CDC and the contract was unauthorized and had expired.
'Navajo elders alone without food and in despair.' August 2020.
This is serious investigative journalism that's taken a ton of time and research and determination to find and verify these facts, and legal allegations. Incredible to read, as a mostly former journalist (hard news, investigative, columnist), I admit, my eyes are still out on stalks. Following, definitely following........
Intense investigative reporting here, an incredible depth of research (former journalist/investigative/hard news/feature/columnist here), and breadth of information. I am not right now conversant with WHY the sale of REMINGTON ARMS was deemed an advisable purchase - ? - and wonder who eventually purchased (given that apparently there are class action lawsuits coming into play) - ??
The other issues, ouch, back-handers here it appears - ? - and the distribution of COVID funds and support, lamentable - is anyone, either one person or - ? - accountable, answerable for this?
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