indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Osage Nation, U.S. at odds over trust fund damages
Monday, November 27, 2006

The Osage Nation of Oklahoma is headed back to court after efforts to settle a trust mismanagement case with the Bush administration failed.

The tribe sued the federal government in 2000, alleging the mishandling of billions of dollars in oil revenues. A series of court rulings upheld the Interior Department's duty to account for the funds.

Most recently, Judge Emily C. Hewitt of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims said the government breached four specific fiduciary duties. She ordered the parties to come up with a figure to resolve this aspect of the case.

After months of negotiations between tribal leaders, federal officials and attorneys, the talks broke down. Both sides dispute how much is owed for four oil leases covering a five-month period.

"While the parties were able to agree on certain elements of the damages calculation, they ultimately disagreed on key elements of the calculation," the tribe said in a statement.

The tribe claims the U.S. owes at least $3.3 million for mismanaging the tribe's assets. The figure covers the four breaches of trust -- under-collection of oil royalties, uncollected late fees, waiting too long to deposit oil royalty checks into interest-bearing accounts and failing to properly invest deposited funds -- plus interest.

The government, on the other hand, says it owes no more than $191,697, significantly lower than the tribe's proposed amount. Depending on how interest is calculated, the figure rises to $1.2 million.

Hewitt will now try to decide whose argument carries greater weight as she determines a damage amount. But even then, the case is far from over -- the tribe has claims going back to the late 1800s and early 1900s that have to be resolved.

"These damage calculations only apply to the four specified Osage oil leases during five months within the time period January 1976 to July 1989," the tribe noted. "They do not include mismanagement for the entire claim period dating back to the late treaty era or the total mismanagement for all funds the government should have collected or collected but improperly invested."

The Osages are among more than two dozen tribes with trust cases in the courts. These challenges are separate from the Cobell lawsuit over money held in trust for individual Indians, a case that is worth billions as well.

Bush administration officials have repeatedly claimed that tribes and individual Indians aren't owed much for the handling of their assets. The figures diverge wildly, particularly in the Cobell case, which was the subject of failed settlement legislation this past year.

Most of the tribal cases are based on "reconciliation" reports created by the former Arthur Andersen accounting firm. Although they were based on incomplete and inaccurate information, the reports uncovered at least $2.4 billion in undocumented transactions just for the years 1972 through 1992, the era of "electronic" records.

In addition to being used in court, the reports have taken on heightened significance this year because tribes have until December 31 to file lawsuits based on the reconciliation. The Bush administration is opposing an extension of the deadline, citing billion dollars worth of liability to tribes.

Arthur Andersen attempted a similar project with the individual trust accounts said the effort was fruitless due to missing documentation. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has since told Congress tat a full accounting of the Indian trust is "impossible."

Court Decision:
Osage Nation v. US (September 21, 2006)

Earlier Decision:
Osage Nation v. US (July 28, 2003)

Related Documents:
S.1857 | Senate Report 107-138 | Senate Testimony | House Debate

Relevant Links:
Osage Nation - http://www.osagetribe.com

Related Stories:
Tribal trust claims face challenge from Bush (10/31)
Osage Nation wins major trust fund ruling (09/25)
Osage Nation trust suit survives first test (07/31)
Judge upholds ongoing trust relationship (04/29)
Bush strategy assumes no trust mismanagement (11/05)
Andersen reports cited in tribal trust cases (08/12)
Norton handed worst nightmare (7/25)
Trust accounting looms for tribes (3/20)
Bush administration bets on accounting (3/18)
GAO: Full reconciliation impossible (2/8)

Copyright 2000-2006 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Navajo Nation in shock after arrest made in 11-year-old girl's death (5/4)
Bureau of Indian Affairs adds names to memorial for fallen officers (5/4)
Bureau of Indian Affairs updates list of federally recognized tribes (5/4)
Bureau of Indian Affairs finalizes rule for burial assistance program (5/4)
National Indian Gaming Commission selects first vice chair in years (5/4)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe assists vets with housing (5/4)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe pushed to hold election (5/4)
Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Tribune: Tribes fight coal mine in Texas (5/4)
Jim Kent: Governor of South Dakota blissfully ignorant about tribes (5/4)
Ernestine Chasing Hawk: Who made the decision to kill Anna Mae? (5/4)
Suzan Shown Harjo: Delete 'off the reservation' from our discourse (5/4)
Simon Moya-Smith: Donald Trump sees Indian people going 'wild' (5/4)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Native issues are afterthought for candidates (5/4)
Blackfeet Nation to see $107M from Cobell land buy-back program (5/4)
Nooksack Tribe fires judge and loses attorney in enrollment crisis (5/4)
Former leader of Grand Traverse Band sentenced for sex crimes (5/4)
Democrat Bernie Sanders stays in race as last Republicans quit (5/4)
Room for Debate: Trademarks for racist and disparaging names (5/4)
Choctaw Nation offered settlements in fatal casino bus accident (5/4)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community fails to sell governor on casino (5/4)
Shakopee Tribe starts work on casino hotel and convention center (5/4)
Editorial: Work with Cloverdale Rancheria rather than fight casino (5/4)
Lakota Country Times: Governor lectures tribe about sacred lands (5/3)
Native Sun News: Navajo Nation chapter sues tribe over water deal (5/3)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux Reservation plagued by abuse and assault (5/3)
James Giago Davies: Propaganda machine protects racist mascot (5/3)
Cronkite News: Sports teams turn to tribes for naming rights deals (5/3)
Steven Newcomb: Tricking the original nations into reconciliation (5/3)
Rosebud man selected as leader of South Dakota State University (5/3)
Klamath Tribes report results of election for leadership positions (5/3)
Leaders of Louisiana tribes in conflict over $48M relocation grant (5/3)
Choctaw Nation ordered to pay $11M for casino bus crash deaths (5/3)
Arizona reports 5.1 percent decline in casino revenue from tribes (5/3)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe casino up for discussion at city meeting (5/3)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation hoping to keep gaming lawsuit going (5/3)
Blackfeet Nation welcomes Interior Secretary Jewell to homeland (5/2)
Native Sun News: Family confronts man linked to woman's death (5/2)
Lakota Country Times: State shows cards in fight over sacred site (5/2)
Clara Caufield: Living in a state of emergency on my reservation (5/2)
Mark Trahant: Native newspapers and presidential endorsements (5/2)
Mark Charles: Politicians haven't learned from our genocidal past (5/2)
Kevin Washburn: Land buy-back program benefits Indian Country (5/2)
Ruth Hopkins: Tell indigenous youth that their lives really matter (5/2)
Peter d'Errico: Suicides are outcome of intergenerational trauma (5/2)
Indian Health Service reaches agreements for troubled facilities (5/2)
Native girl survives night alone in forest with help of three dogs (5/2)
Gathering of Nations wraps up with crowning of Miss Indian World (5/2)
University leader doesn't see seal that excludes Natives as racist (5/2)
New bill takes aim at casinos opposed by rival tribes in California (5/2)
Cloverdale Rancheria wins approval of casino land-into-trust bid (5/2)
Mashpee Wampanaog Tribe overcomes hurdles with casino plan (5/2)
Cowlitz Tribe aims to hire locals as casino construction continues (5/2)
Gathering scheduled in June at site of former BIA insane asylum (4/29)
Native Sun News: Tribal college student overcomes challenges (4/29)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ancestors are gone but language lives on (4/29)
Mike Rounds: Eliminate 'hateful' and 'paternalistic' federal laws (4/29)
Harlan McKosato: White privilege fuels Donald Trump's fanbase (4/29)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.