The Seventh Osage Nation Congress passed a bill to bring the Osage Nation Ranch LLC under the umbrella of Osage LLC on Sept. 15. According to the resolution sponsored by Congresswoman Pam Shaw, “the Osage Nation has resolved to consolidate its business entities to preserve capital and better utilize resources.”
Galen Crum, Osage Nation Ranch board chairman, indicated in a phone call that the ranch board and staff were caught off guard by the bill’s passage.
“We’ve never been talked to by anyone in Congress before they did this action,” Crum said. “In the short term, we don’t know what to do.”
It’s not uncharted territory, however. The Osage Nation Ranch (doing business as Bluestem Ranch at the time) operated under the umbrella of Osage LLC for the first years of their existence. The ranch was separated from Osage LLC to protect the Ranch’s assets in 2018, a time of financial turmoil for Osage LLC.
Osage LLC has since stabilized and, according to Chairman of the board Frank Freeman, was tasked last year with bringing Osage Nation Environmental Solutions (ONES) LLC under their umbrella but the transition had not yet been completed.
In an emailed statement, Shaw provided details about the anticipated transition: “The Osage LLC Board will expand from three members to five members in addition to two ex officio members with specific expertise. The Osage LLC Board has told us that at least one of the new members of the Osage LLC Board will come from the Osage Nation Ranch Board.”
Freeman said in a phone call that he had spoken with members of the Osage Nation Ranch board and assured them that they have no intention of disrupting anything that’s going on currently.
In her statement, Shaw said the Osage Nation relies “heavily and almost solely” on casino revenue. She indicated the move by Congress was part of a strategy to provide dividends to the Nation and create jobs for the people.
“For me, it’s about doing what I can do as a member of this Congress to move each of our businesses forward with one shared goal – to provide revenue for the Osage Nation,” she said.
Oct. 6 Executive Memorandum
On Oct. 6, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear sent an Executive Memorandum to ON Attorney General Clint Patterson about the board status of the ONES LLC, the Osage Nation Ranch LLC and the Osage LLC. The memorandum asked:
- What is the present status of ownership, control, and authorities of these three LLCs?
- What is the present status of the existence or non-existence of the Boards of Osage Nation Energy (Environmental) Services, LLC and Osage Nation Ranch, LLC?
According to the memorandum, Standing Bear said the Congressional enacted resolutions “appear to have the effect of placing both” ONES LLC and the Osage Nation Ranch LLC under the authority of Osage LLC as subsidiaries or other entities. He also questioned whether the Articles of Organization and/or the Articles of Operation of one or all three LLCs have been amended.
Editor Shannon Shaw Duty contributed to this report.