Navajo VP charged in slush fund investigation

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2010 3:37 PM
Navajo VP charged in slush fund investigation

A Navajo presidential candidate and his running mate are among tribal officials charged in an investigation of slush funds.

Tribal Vice President Ben Shelly faces fraud, conspiracy and theft charges. He says he'll plead not guilty at his arraignment Thursday in tribal court.

His running mate, council Delegate Rex Lee Jim, also is charged in the probe.

The tribe's Department of Justice announced Wednesday that criminal complaints had been filed against an unspecified number of people. Eighteen former and current Navajo lawmakers were on the docket to be arraigned Thursday.

Court documents allege that Shelly, a former 16-year lawmaker, conspired with six others to benefit himself and his family financially.

Shelly faces Lynda Lovejoy, a New Mexico state senator, in the Nov. 2 Navajo presidential election.