Browning, Montana. Photo: Robinsoncrusoe
Law

Blackfeet Nation reaches deal to acquire assets of troubled town on reservation





The Blackfeet Nation has settled a long-running dispute with a troubled community on the reservation in Montana.

According to news reports, the settlement requires the defunct town of Browning to turn over most of its assets and property to the tribe. That includes water and sewer infrastructure, roads and sidewalks, water rights and land, The Missoulian said.

The deal resolves the tribe's claim that it was owed more than $2.6 million from the town, which stopped functioning as a government in February 2016 after it went broke. According to a lawsuit filed in Lewis and Clark District Court, the town kept billing residents for water, sewer and garbage services even though the tribe had taken over those functions.

The hearing is taking place Wednesday afternoon as part of the lawsuit, known as Reevis v. Town of Browning. According to The Missoulian, the tribe's attorneys are representing the plaintiffs, who are residents of the troubled town.

“For over a decade, the town abused public funds and charged the public more money than what was needed to operate the utility system and provide governmental services in Browning,” an attorney for the tribe wrote in one filing, The Missoulian reported.

Separately, the tribe sued the town in tribal court but those cases will be put on hold while the settlement is carried out, The Missoulian said. People who claim they are owed money from the town will have an opportunity to file claims in the coming days, The Cut Bank Pioneer Press reported.

Browning is the location of Blackfeet headquarters.

Read More on the Story:
Browning to Sell Assets to Blackfeet Tribe as Town Dissolves (The Flathead Beacon September 20, 2017)
Judge orders Denning to accept Blackfeet Tribe’s offer to buy Town of Browning’s assets (The Cut Bank Pioneer Press September 20, 2017)
Montana town 5 months away from dissolving, most assets will go to tribe (The Missoulian September 20, 2017)