Acting director named at DOI trust office
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) on Monday named an acting director for the Farmington Indian Minerals Office in Farmington, New Mexico.

Jim Stockbridge, a 26-year Department of Interior employee, will oversee FIMO for 120 days until a permanent replacement is hired. He will oversee MMS, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) employees responsible for about 6,000 Navajo allottees in the Four Corners.

The appointment comes weeks after MMS fired Kevin Gambrell for allegedly destroying trust records. Navajo leaders support Gambrell and say he was the victim of retaliation for communicating with the federal court handling the Indian trust fund lawsuit.

Gambrell's contacts led to a highly critical court report which found that Navajo landowners were not receiving fair market value for use of their land. Gambrell has filed an appeal of his status with the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Also announced yesterday was the appointment of Lucille Leuppe-Esplain as an auditor at FIMO.

Get the Story:
Federal Indian Minerals Office gets Acting Director and New Auditor (MMS 9/29)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -
Minerals Management Service -

Related Stories:
Retaliation alleged in firing of trust fund manager (09/18)
Court report finds undervaluation of Navajo lands (08/21)
Whistle-blower warned DOI on Navajo land use (08/21)
Court master releases report on Navajo appraisals (8/20)
Swimmer weighs consolidation of appraisals (8/15)
Norton admits Interior hid facts from Congress (7/24)
Navajo trust fund manager targeted in internal probe (07/15)
DOI employees falsified Navajo trust data (06/11)
Navajo leaders criticize upheaval at trust fund office (05/09)

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