indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
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...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Film company aims to bring Native stories to life (9/2)
Walt Lamar: Tribes face problems dealing with legalized marijuana (9/2)
Jennie Stockle: Fans mock Cherokee people with Trail of Tears sign (9/2)
DaShanne Stokes: State-recognized tribes need eagle feathers too (9/2)
Indian studies professor denied position over remarks about Israel (9/2)
Tim Giago: Oglala Sioux people aren't afraid to say no to easy cash (9/1)
Native Sun News: Release of secret uranium mining data ordered (9/1)
Mark Trahant: It's past time for tribal leaders to govern the nation (9/1)
Jennie Stockle: A safe space for opponents of offensive mascotry (9/1)
John Christian Hopkins: A big thank you to the friend I never met (9/1)
National Museum of the American Indian celebrates 10th birthday (9/1)
Mother arrested in connection with child's death on Navajo Nation (9/1)
Opinion: Energy development can help secure tribal independence (9/1)
Cherokee Nation announces $170M casino and retail development (9/1)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe won't be sharing gaming revenues this quarter (9/1)
Seminole Tribe on track to see gaming revenues increase to $2.1B (9/1)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to reopen gaming facility in February 2015 (9/1)
Editorial: Tohono O'odham Nation didn't play by 'rules' with casino (9/1)
Opinion: Gaming good for Eastern Cherokees but not for fellow tribe (9/1)
Opinion: Federal recognition only means more casinos in California (9/1)
Native Sun News: Tribes walk out of contract support cost meeting (8/29)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe spends $2.4M on property (8/29)
Mike Johanns: Retracing steps of great Ponca Chief Standing Bear (8/29)
Steven Newcomb: Racist mascot a sign of deeper problems in US (8/29)
Lauren Jones: Affordable Care Act benefits Native Americans too (8/29)
Gila River Indian Community to see $77.6M from Cobell buy-back (8/29)
Energy boom linked to rise in human trafficking in Indian Country (8/29)
Navajo man heads up Native American Homelessness Task Force (8/29)
9th Circuit hears case over Yakama Nation tobacco manufacturer (8/29)
WAER: ICWA matters handled in 'kangaroo courts' in South Dakota (8/29)
MPR: Red Lake Nation opposes liquor license near dry reservation (8/29)
Tule River Tribe helps remove marijuana operation on reservation (8/29)
Omaha Tribe signs agreement with EPA to improve utility services (8/29)
Las Vegas Paiute Tribe rejected 'gift' from NFL team's foundation (8/29)
KPLU: Spokane Tribe maintains close ties with baseball franchise (8/29)
Opinion: HUD loan program a small step to boost Indian housing (8/29)
DNA study finds distinct population of Native people in Arctic area (8/29)
Tribes closely watching Big Lagoon Rancheria casino land dispute (8/29)
Tohono O'odham Nation to build off-reservation casino in phases (8/29)
State questions Forest County Powatatomi Tribe's slot machines (8/29)
Quapaw Tribe eyes local support for commercial casino in Kansas (8/29)
Native Sun News: Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals (8/28)
Cara Cowan Watts: Laying the groundwork for college scholarship (8/28)
Rudolph Ryser: Indigenous nations need leverage to bring change (8/28)
DOI extends $100M in Cobell buy-back offers on two reservations (8/28)
Cobell buy-backs could return over 38K acres to tribe in Montana (8/28)
Five-year-old Navajo boy sent home from school for his long hair (8/28)
Three charged with murder for death of Mississippi Choctaw man (8/28)
Lummi Nation seeks cooperation after ruling in treaty rights case (8/28)
Artist Gregg Deal takes on Indian mascots for performance piece (8/28)
Sports announcer won't use Washington NFL team's name on air (8/28)
Recruiter from Spokane Tribe's college selected for Peirone Prize (8/28)
California tribes support release of water to benefit salmon runs (8/28)
Southern Ute Tribe invests $2B in big energy production system (8/28)
County hires lobbying firm to oppose federal recognition reforms (8/28)
Tohono O'odham Nation breaks ground for off-reservation casino (8/28)
Cherokee Nation starts construction on casino at Indian allotment (8/28)
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.