Government , Business

Osage Congress passes gaming plan amendment, loan for ranch, casino project

The Fourth Osage Nation Congress passed two economic development-related resolutions during the Hun-Kah Session related to the Bluestem Ranch purchase and to fund the forthcoming Tulsa Osage Casino expansion project.

One resolution (ONCR 16-21 sponsored by Congresswoman Angela Pratt) approved an amendment to the Nation’s annual plan of operations for the Gaming Enterprise. The other resolution (ONCR 16-27 sponsored by Congressman William “Kugee” Supernaw) authorizes and approves execution of a loan agreement, approves a limited waiver of sovereign immunity and to authorize the ON Gaming Enterprise Board to execute the documents incurring indebtedness and pledging assets.

Supernaw said ONCR 16-27 is required to close out the loan for the recent purchase of the 43,000-acre Bluestem Ranch from TV media mogal Ted Turner, as well as to finance the Tulsa Osage Casino expansion project.

The closing business on the Bluestem Ranch purchase was not completed when the Hun-Kah Session ended on April 21. More information, including the purchase price for the ranch, will not be disclosed until that time. According to ONCR 16-27, the resolution says the Nation has been advised that Bank of Oklahoma and other participating banks have offered to provide financing for the ranch and casino project “under term revolving loans in the aggregate maximum principle amount of $175,000,000.”

Pratt said she could not discuss details of the gaming plan of operation amendment during the session since the plan contains confidential business proprietary information. She noted the gaming board approved of the amendment then asked her to sponsor the amendment for the Congress to consider.

The gaming board and Osage Casino management announced initial plans to expand the Tulsa casino on North 36th Street last summer, but up-to-date details of the plan remain an executive session matter for the gaming board meetings and meetings with the Congressional Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

According to ONCR 16-27, “The Osage Nation desires to obtain financing for the purchase of historic real property in Osage County, Oklahoma currently used as a ranch and for the construction of a new casino, hotel and event center in Tulsa.”

Congressional Speaker Maria Whitehorn said the resolution is the result of extra work the gaming board took on to reexamine the Tulsa casino expansion plans “and this amendment is even going to give us more than what we originally thought we were going to get … they reworked the plan and they got us more for our dollar … we’re doing what we can afford to do.”

On April 20, ONCR 16-27 passed with 11 “yes” votes, one “no” from Congresswoman Shannon Edwards and one absence that day from Congressman Ron Shaw. During the same session, ONCR 16-21 passed unanimously 11-0.