Editorial: Utah should pull out of Navajo trust

"It's time to pull the plug on the Navajo Trust. Utah's governor and legislative leadership are right to suggest that the state resign as trustee next July.

The Navajo Trust Fund was created by Congress in 1933. It receives 37.5 percent of oil and gas royalties from Utah Navajo Reservation lands; the balance of those royalties go to the Navajo Nation's tribal government in Window Rock, Ariz. Oil from the Aneth field has been the primary source of revenues. Congress designated Utah as trustee of the fund.

But that relationship has been rocky over the years. Though the trust has provided many worthwhile services to the Navajo people, a legislative audit in 1991 revealed that a Development Council partially funded by the trust had mismanaged its money, and a for-profit business subsidiary had lost millions of dollars.

Members of the tribe filed suit to recover losses that occurred under the state's watch between 1955 and 1991, alleging that the state could not account for most of $62 million. That lawsuit is pending."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Pull the plug: Utah should resign as trustee of Navajo fund (The Salt Lake Tribune 11/16)

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