Navajo Nation enters agreement to assist troubled Shiprock fair

The Navajo Nation has entered into a memorandum of understanding to assist the organizers of the 100th annual Northern Navajo Nation Fair.

The tribe will provide oversight to the Northern Navajo Nation Fair Board for the popular event, which has struggled in recent years with allegations of fraud and mismanagement. Navajo President Ben Shelly and the executive branch are opening an office to deal with contracts, infrastructure and other issues.

The agreement was signed two days after fair director Lloyd Smith was arrested after he asked a board member, Wallace Ben, about remarks made in Navajo. Smith spent the night in tribal jail but was never charged with anything.

Ben, however, was accused of soliciting $14,000 from donors and vendors . He was ousted from his position after he allegedly kept the money.

The troubles don't end there -- the Navajo Department of Health and Human Services has found numerous deficiencies at the fair grounds and a Shiprock resident is demanding to be paid as part of the event. The current pageant queen is also reportedly refusing to step down.

Get the Story:
Rocky runup to Shiprock Fair (The Farmington Daily Times 9/27)

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