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Law
Winnebago Tribe wins taxation case in Kansas


The state of Kansas can't impose a fuel distribution tax on the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled today.

The court said Ho-Chunk Inc., the tribe's economic development corporation, doesn't qualify as a "distributor" under state law. The state had argued the opposite in hopes of collecting more than $1.2 million from HCI.

Back in the spring of 2002, the state went after the tribe, its leaders and HCI executives for selling gas to three Kansas tribes. At one point, arrest warrants were issued for Chairman John Blackhawk and Lance Morgan, the chief executive officer of HCI.

A federal court intervened and blocked the state from taking further action. In the meantime, the state's case against the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the tribe must pay the distribution tax.

The state's argument in the Prairie Band case conflicted with the one it presented in the Winnebago case. The state Supreme Court agreed with the Winnebago Tribe's interpretation of the state tax law.

HCI owns Indianz.Com and its sister e-commerce site, AllNative.Com.

Court Decision:
Winnebago Tribe v. Kansas (February 2, 2007)

Relevant Links:
Ho-Chunk Inc. - http://www.hochunkinc.com
Winnebago Tribe - http://www.winnebagotribe.com

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