Current and former tribal council members say they would not have voted in favor of buying the Big Boquillas Ranch had they known it was being resold to the Navajo Tribe for a profit.
Councilman Walter Atene of Oljato, San Juan Co., and Ernest Begay of Rock Point, testified Tuesday in the conspiracy trial of former Tribal Chairman Peter MacDonald and his co-defendant son, Peter "Rocky" MacDonald Jr.Neither Atene nor Begay, who served on the council when it approved the July 1987 ranch purchase, testified that the elder MacDonald applied any pressure to expedite the purchase.
MacDonald faces single counts of fraud, bribery, ethics violations and conspiracy. The charges stem from the tribe's $33.4 million purchase of the Big Boquillas from a non-Indian oilman who the same day bought it for $26.2 million. Prosecutors contend that MacDonald used his influence to sway the deal and expected to receive a share of the profit.