Swimmer admits some Navajo appraisals too low

Special Trustee Ross Swimmer says some Navajo landowners received less than market value for use of their land but denies oil and gas companies are exploiting allottees.

Swimmer told SmartMoney.Com that he's "not at all happy with the way business is being done and was done" at the Navajo regional office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The office's former top appraiser allowed drilling companies to use Navajo lands at rates far less than what non-Indian and even the Navajo Nation received.

"If you talk to some of those companies, you get a little different perspective," Swimmer was quoted as saying. "Their concern is, 'How do I get a right of way'? The price is inconsequential."

Swimmer said he can't comment on any disciplinary action he might take against the former appraiser, who has been reassigned to another region.

Get the Story:
An Ugly History (SmartMoney.Com 12/7)

Earlier Story:
Fraud in New Mexico (SmartMoney.Com 12/3)

Relevant Documents:
Deborah Lewis Affidavit (December 2, 2004)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice -
Indian Trust, Department of Interior -

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