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Chapter official claims harm done to reputation

Rick Nez filed complaint in May against various officials

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
San Juan Chapter and District 13 President Rick Nez speaks during a Feb. 9 meeting at the Nenahnezad Chapter House in Fruitland.
  • The complaint centers on an email allegedly sent by an employee of the Upper Fruitland Chapter on Dec. 18 to three chapter officials and two chapter employees.
  • The email claimed Nez had a "personal vendetta" against the chapter employee and that the employee was heckled and insulted by Nez in front of community and family members.
  • Rick Nez and his attorney, David Jordan, did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

FARMINGTON — The San Juan Chapter president has filed a complaint against a chapter official and employees of the San Juan and Upper Fruitland chapters that alleges comments made in an email have harmed his reputation as a community leader.

San Juan Chapter President Rick Nez alleges in a complaint filed in May that false and defamatory words were used by an employee of the Upper Fruitland Chapter in an email sent on Dec. 18 to three chapter officials and two chapter employees.

The email claimed Nez had a "personal vendetta" against the chapter employee and that the employee was heckled and insulted by Nez in front of community and family members, according to the complaint filed in Shiprock District Court.

Other allegations against Nez, who is a candidate for Navajo Nation Council this year, in the email were stalking, harassing, bullying and acting unprofessionally toward the employee, the complaint states.

The allegations and its dissemination among surrounding communities have harmed Nez's reputation, office, trade, business and means of livelihood, the complaint states.

The chapter employee, along with a second Upper Fruitland Chapter employee, are named as defendants.

The complaint also lists as defendants the Navajo Nation, the Upper Fruitland Chapter, the San Juan Chapter, one employee at the San Juan Chapter and San Juan Chapter Vice President Shawn Mike.

Mike said he and the San Juan Chapter have requested legal representation from the Navajo Nation Department of Justice.

Nez and his attorney, David Jordan, did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

Court documents did not list attorneys for the Upper Fruitland Chapter or for the employees there.

The complaint states the defendants were named because they allowed the chapter employee to publish false and defamatory statements or failed to monitor and regulate the employee's access to tribal property, or colluded with the employee to disseminate the allegations within chapters.

Nez requested a jury trial and monetary damages to be determined at trial.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.