Business , Legal

Former Osage LLC chairwoman being investigated by attorney general’s office

Photo caption: Kay Bills takes her oath of office in 2017 to serve on the Osage LLC board of directors. Bills is currently under investigation by the ON Attorney General’s office. Osage News File Photo

The Osage Nation Attorney General’s office is investigating allegations of Ethics Act violations by the former chairwoman of Osage LLC’s board of directors.

On July 29, the Office of the Attorney General confirmed it is wrapping up an investigation into actions taken during Kay Bills’ tenure as board chair of Osage LLC and will be meeting with the current board members before the investigation results are released to the public.

Bills was replaced as chair in February and resigned from the Osage LLC board of directors in May. Her replacement, Danny Sadler, was sworn in via telephone on May 29 on an interim basis. His appointment is subject to Congressional approval during the upcoming Tzi-Zho Session in September.

During the 2020 Hun-Kah Session, Osage LLC’s current board chairman, Frank Freeman, told the Osage Congress that the company had incurred about $300,000 in expenses that neither he nor the other board member at the time, Rick Perrier, were aware of.

Among the expenses in question was almost $100,000 affiliated with the federal grant-funded rural broadband project for the Grayhorse and Bowring communities for duplicated services from a subcontractor. The company in question has since been paid, but those funds are having to be made up through budget cuts and other contracts.

In a written statement, Freeman disputed previous public claims that the broadband project was on pace to finish up in the near future.

“The broadband project was not on track,” Freeman said. “It was falling apart.”

Among the other unearthed documents that were not brought before the board includes a contract signed by now-former Osage LLC CEO Gina Gray, non-Osage, for a business plan and an agreement with Southwind Construction to set up a joint venture limited liability company recognized by the state of Oklahoma.

The Edmond-based company has since resigned from that joint venture contractual agreement but has continued to work with Osage LLC to finish out contracts at Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City.

“They (Southwind) are still helping us clear our bond,” Freeman said. “They are still working with us. They gave us a letter resigning from the contractual agreement … to set up the LLC with the state of Oklahoma.

“They have been very good about coming back and helping us finish out our contracts at Tinker.”

Gray resigned as Osage LLC’s chief executive officer in March and could not be reached for comment about her departure. As of mid-July, she has not met with the board either.

“Ms. Gray stepped away from Osage LLC very abruptly with no word to the board as to why,” Freeman said. “The transition has not been optimum, as she left with many unanswered questions, money spent without board approval and many business ends left dangling.”

When reached for comment, Bills said she had not been contacted by the Office of the Attorney General about the pending investigation.

“Ethics are a personal thing,” she said. “I have mine and sometimes they’re challenged. I don’t withdraw anything I did.

“For my part, I felt I did what I could. The Nation did not default and did not get sued. We paid off those debts and I left them with $1 million in cash. All they had to do was finish the paperwork.”