Law | Trust

Osage Nation to settle trust mismanagement lawsuit for $380M





The Osage Nation of Oklahoma is settling its trust mismanagement lawsuit for $380 million.

The tribe sued the federal government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims 11 years ago. A federal judge ruled that the tribe was owed $330 million for mismanagement of its trust assets and trust funds.

The settlement with the Obama administration will put $345.8 million into the Osage trust, to be distributed to each "headright" holder. The remainder of the settlement, $34.2 million, will go to attorneys.

“While not perfect, the proposed settlement represents and end to over a decade of hard fought litigation and a new beginning for improved management of the Osage Mineral Estate and Osage trust funds,” Dudley Whitehorn, the chairman of the Osage Trust Team, in a press release. “Upon execution of the settlement, our Osage headright holders, including our elders who have waited too long for this settlement, will receive their settlement payment before Christmas."

The Osage trust has 2,229 headrights, so each headright will receive $155,136 under the settlement. Some tribal members own full or multiple headrights while others own fractionated interests.

However, about 30 percent of headrights were willed or transferred to non-Indian entities, so they will benefit from the settlement.

Get the Story:
$380 million expected in federal Osage trust case settlement (The Tulsa World 8/18)