RRFW Riverwire – Tramway Development Likened to Payday Loan Scam September 14, 2016

RRFW Riverwire - Tramway Development Likened to Payday Loan Scam

September 14, 2016

A proposal by Phoenix developers Confluence Partners LLC to build a tramway in western Grand Canyon has been likened to a Payday Loan scam by the Gallup Independent Newspaper.

In a September 9, 2016 article, the newspaper noted that serious “legal issues involving what appears to be a payday loan scheme that the Navajo Nation Department of Justice identified in 2014 with the proposed master agreement for the Grand Canyon Escalade were never resolved.”

The Navajo Nation Justice Department noted that if passed, the legislation could force the Navajo Nation to pay over $11,000,000 annually, “substantially more than the annual revenues generated.”

A bill to authorize the tramway development was introduced into the Navajo Nation Tribal Government Legislative calendar by Tribal Delegate Ben Bennet on August 29. Bennett sits on the resources and development committee and his action initiated a five day public comment period that ended Saturday, September 3.

The Navajo Nation Office of Legislative Services produced a two page review of the public comments to the legislation which showed there were 8,417 comments opposing the legislation and 131 comments in support. The report has been added to the legislative packet. To see the report, click on


and search for the tramway legislation bill number 0293-16.

A number of petitions with many tens of thousands of signatures has yet to make it into the Legislative Services report.

The legislation now moves to review by four Tribal Committees, one at a time. That includes the Law and Order, Resources and Development, Budget and Finance and the most powerful of all the committees, the Naa'bik'iyati' Committee. If the legislation clears these committees, the bill will come before the 23 member Navajo Nation Tribal Council delegates for a vote.

The legislation proposes to bypass a number of Navajo Nation laws, and as such, requires a yes vote by two-thirds of the delegates to pass. Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye will then have an opportunity to veto the legislation. President Begaye has made it clear he is not in support of the legislation, and sources close to the Navajo Nation Tribal Government do not think there are enough delegates in support of the bill to pass it.

According to the Legislative Services division of the Navajo Nation, the Law and Order committee will hear the legislation at their next committee meeting, to be held in Monument Valley on September 26. No location for the meeting has yet been announced.

Representatives of the Resources and Development committee have suggested they will hear the legislation somewhere in Western Navajo, the area near where the development is proposed. No date or location has been announced for the Resources and Development committee meeting. It is unknown how quickly the legislation might move through the committees. The full Council will be meeting in October and in January, 2017.


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