Tom Arviso Jr.
Publisher, The Navajo Times & CEO, Navajo Times Publishing Company,
Window Rock, AZ
When our – our president Albert Hale came into office things started to unravel about some extra marital affair going on in his office and some dealings with the credit card – misuse of a credit card and all these expenses that were being spent on – I mean – trips, you know, to Paris and all these places where the Navajo people were funding the trips for him. And we really weren’t writing benefiting from it, you know – at least nothing that we could see. So we reported on those things, you know.
And it really was a time where, again, our role as a newspaper – our role with the native press was questioned by our government. They said,” Why are you writing all these things about our leader, you know, when in fact it’s not true?”
We said,” We’re writing about stuff that’s based on fact. Look at the financial records. Look at the pictures we have. Look at… “ We had information –- we had factual information to back this up. But it came to a point though, you know, we – we were really questioning about our role. And we had a story we’re gonna’ break about the extramarital affair and the credit card. I mean we had enough information to break the story. And right in that afternoon I got called into our president’s office. We had a man-to-man talk. No tape recorders. No – and we had an agreement that we wouldn’t talk about what we discussed. But that was with Mr. Hale.
So I left there from his office thinking, “What am I going to do?” Cause Albert was a good friend of mine too; we used to play basketball long ago and I got to know him and the lady he was involved with was a former classmate of mine. So they were former friends – people I knew. But I also knew the office that they held in the public trust that people have put into what they were doing.
So I came back, you know, and I had to think about some things here. And I thought, you know: What are we going to do? Are we going to break this story? Or am I going to hold off on it until I get more information?
I come to realize we had enough – we had enough to break the story. So we did. It came out the next morning – a huge story. And everything took off from there. And after that – eventually he had to step down from office. He had to resign from office or he was going to face prosecution thereafter. Again – we survived. We survived.
But it really made me realize that the power we had and our purpose.
And I wish it could’ve been something better – it could’ve been something different. But for the most part but that was again – what really stood out in my mind because from personal standpoint it was really stressful. I went through a lot of – you know – why am I doing this? Why me? That kind of thing.
And I come to realize that: Hey, there’s a reason why I am here. And there’s a reason why I’m in this position. There’s a reason why I’ve got to make this decision, you know. So, I stuck with it. We ran the story. And things just took care of itself. And truth always prevails.