I want to address recent events surrounding the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company (NNOGC).

It is important that the Navajo people understand how their money and resources — and that of future generations — are being managed.

NNOGC is solely owned by the Navajo Nation. The money it earns is the Navajo people's money. The approximately $500 million in assets are their assets. Managed properly, in accordance with Navajo Nation values, NNOGC can provide financial security for generations to come.

Company leadership is united and working together toward that goal. We are proud of the strong business NNOGC has built over many years and will do all we can to protect it. —NNOGC is Owned by the Navajo People

NNOGC was established as a corporation under a Section 17 federal charter with the U.S. government. The Navajo Nation is the sole owner. According to the charter, NNOGC operates at the direction of a Board of Directors, which selects a CEO to run operations at the Board's discretion.

If wrongdoing occurs at NNOGC, it is the Board's responsibility to investigate and take action. That is what we're doing now.

—The Current NNOGC Board is the Legitimate Board; We are Reunited

NNOGC's current Board is the rightful and lawful Board, as the Navajo Nation Supreme Court — our Nation's highest court — has affirmed in two separate decisions.

An attempt at an unlawful corporate takeover in December has been found to be unlawful, and all actions taken by that group have been found by the Navajo Nation Supreme Court to be illegitimate.

The legitimate Board is reunited, fulfilling our responsibility to ensure the company is again managed with honor and integrity in accordance with Navajo Nation values.

In January, the majority Board terminated CEO Robert Joe for numerous violations of Navajo law, company policies and the people's trust. These issues are being investigated thoroughly in a forensic audit that will go back four years, so that allegations of mismanagement prior to Mr. Joe's tenure will also be addressed.

Ethics charges have been filed with the Ethics and Rules office of the Navajo Nation against four delegate Shareholder Representatives involved with the illegal attempted takeover.

Our Board and company leadership have reunited with traditional Navajo ceremonies and prayers as well as a blessing by a pastor. We wish everything to be rejuvenated and blessed again, for the benefit of the company, our employees and the Navajo Nation.

We are sincere in our desire to reestablish Navajo values in the way this company is run.

—Damage Caused to NNOGC is Being Addressed

Activities over recent months have caused disruption with our banking partners. Under the current leadership of CEO Louis Denetsosie, we have been successful in restoring their confidence.

However, the disruption has come at a financial cost, including additional interest payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. We are also uncovering financial mismanagement and impropriety under the previous administration.

We are working to recover the Navajo people's money.

—NNOGC Has a Strong Financial Foundation

Thankfully, NNOGC is on strong footing for the long-term.

It has experienced consistent, strong growth in recent years. Managed properly, according to Navajo Nation values and laws, NNOGC will be a source of financial security for future generations.

Unified, we will weather this storm together. Moving forward, we will manage this important asset in accordance with Navajo values and laws for the benefit of the Navajo people and future generations.

 

Lennard Eltsosoe is the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company Chairman.