Navajo Nation lawmaker loses seat after conviction in fund case

Former Navajo Nation Council Delegate Mel R. Begay represented the Coyote Canyon, Mexican Springs, Naschitti, Tohatchi, Bahastl'a'a chapters on the Navajo Nation. Photo from Navajo Nation Council / Facebook

A delegate to the Navajo Nation Council was officially removed from office on Friday after being convicted of misusing tribal funds.

Mel R. Begay was found guilty in tribal court last month. The jury agreed that he used a discretionary fund to fulfill financial requests from his six children.

Begay is planning to appeal his conviction, the Associated Press reported. But he's no longer on the council, which opened its spring session on Monday. A special election will be held to fill his seat, the AP said.

In related news, former council delegate Young Jeff Tom Sr. was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution for misusing the same discretionary fund, The Farmington Daily-Times reported. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in official and political matters.

One more former delegate, Hoskie Kee, is due to go to trial next week in connection with the fund.

Get the Story:
Navajo Lawmaker Convicted Of Misusing Tribal Funds Loses Post (AP 4/19)
Navajo council starts session in Window Rock (The Farmington Daily-Times 4/19)
Former delegate sentenced in financial case (The Farmington Daily-Times 4/14)

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Navajo Nation lawmaker faces removal after verdict in fund case (03/28)
Spouse of Navajo Nation lawmaker remains in jail as trial opens (3/17)
Wife of Navajo Nation lawmaker sent to jail on contempt charge (3/10)

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