Chief Red Eagle testifies he withheld Rod Hartness contract

In his Day Four testimony, Osage Nation Principal Chief John Red Eagle said he withheld a consultant’s contract to protect the negotiations he and the consultant, Rod Hartness, were having with pipeline union officials now working on the pipeline project.

His Jan. 16 testimony comes in response to Article allegation No. 5 that states Chief Red Eagle “abused the power of his elected position to improperly withhold one or more contracts between the Osage Nation and Rod Hartness properly requested under the (Nation’s Open Records Act) by the Osage Newsstaff and The Bigheart Times staff, which constitutes malfeasance in office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, and arrogation of power.”

Both newspaper editors, Shannon Shaw Duty of the Osage News and Louis Red Corn of The Bigheart Times, testified one day earlier recalling several follow-up inquiries for the Hartness contract with no responses from the Red Eagle administration.

“I didn’t want it to mess with the negotiations,” Chief Red Eagle told the court adding he believed the two newspapers would write negative stories about Hartness that could harm the negotiations resulting in the ongoing Enbridge pipeline project.

“They were writing negative articles about our relationship, our friendship,” Chief Red Eagle said of the newspapers. “I wanted to get employment for our people,” he said, also citing the old buildings atmosphere in Pawhuska and bad economy.

The allegation regarding the newspaper also comes after the Osage News filed a tribal court lawsuit that was eventually dismissed seeking the contract, which is considered a public document under Osage law.

According to the Nation’s open records act, there is a 10-working day window for the Nation to respond to open records requests from the public to either provide a copy of the requested document or provide a written reason why the request is denied.

By the end of the day, Congress trial legal counsel Mark Lyons said the Congress rests its case. The Chief’s legal counsel now has the opportunity to present witness testimonies for the court.

Day Five of the removal trial is Friday Jan. 17 starting at 9 a.m. Check back for more developments in the trial or the newspaper’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Paul Allen located in Arkansas    

Also on Jan. 17, an Osage Nation Police sergeant took the stand to testify regarding the attempts to serve Paul Allen with a subpoena to testify in the trial regarding the contract allegation cited in Article No. 6 that states Chief Red Eagle “violated Osage and federal laws, misusing public money of the Osage Nation by authorizing Paul Allen to be paid $73,334 in Osage Nation public monies for personal services contracts, for which he admittedly did no work to earn his fees, which constitutes malfeasance in office, abuse of the government process and undermining the integrity of the office.”

Police Sgt. Dan Hively told the court he tried to serve Allen with the subpoena at his last known addresses in Pawhuska and Barnsdall within the Osage Nation jurisdiction.

A follow-up FBI background check revealed that Allen is now living in Benton, Ark., Hively testified.