Business

Business boards in limbo as they await AG opinion

Board members for the Nation's business interests await a legal opinion by Attorney General Clint Patterson on whether the boards will consolidate. Pictured is the Osage Nation's Law Building. Osage News File Photo

An Osage LLC Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 18 brought together board members from the Osage Nation Ranch LLC and the Osage Nation Environmental Solutions (ONES) LLC.

The ON Congress recently enacted resolutions to place both the Ranch and ONES under the authority of Osage LLC, and while the Osage LLC board voted to approve Articles of Incorporation and Articles of Organization for both business entities on Oct. 1, the status of the three different boards remains unclear.

During the first part of the two-part meeting, leaders from both ONES and the Ranch provided an overview of their respective business operations to the Osage LLC board of directors. Paul Yates, President of ONES, described their work and ongoing projects as 8(a) government contracts. Ranch Board Chairman Galen Crum described their work as a primarily cow-calf operation. Crum indicated that during an informal meeting between members of the two boards, it was suggested that the Ranch board members would continue to serve in an ex-officio advisory position once the transition is complete, but no action has been taken.

During the second part of the meeting, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear addressed the Osage LLC board and explained the status of the consolidation. According to Standing Bear, he is of the impression that because Congress confirmed board members to the Ranch and ONES boards after they took action to place the respective LLCs under the Osage LLC board, that those individual boards were ratified.

“There is a period of confusion here to the point where the Supreme Court of the Osage Nation has called my office to arrange the swearing-in of those board members,” Standing Bear said.

The Chief said he has asked to halt the swearing-in process while he awaits guidance from Attorney General Clint Patterson. In a memorandum dated Oct. 6, Standing Bear requested an official opinion on the status of the three boards.

“I think you need to know, Congress needs to know, I need to know, all the other LLCs need to know, what is the effect and where are we today? I’m not sure myself,” Standing Bear said.

He indicated that nothing was at risk in this delay and that he expected to be given legal guidance on best options for moving toward the intended outcome of consolidating the three business entities once an opinion was issued.

Joining the meeting by phone was Congressional Second Speaker Jodie Revard who expressed concern that the consolidation has encountered roadblocks.

“Do you support the Osage LLC re-org?” Revard asked Standing Bear. “I want to make sure we’re all on the same team to make sure our Osage LLC is successful.”

Standing Bear responded that it was his belief that, based on actions by Congress and legislation signed by himself, that it was the intent of the Osage Nation to combine all three LLCs into one entity.

“However, was it done right? I don’t know,” Standing Bear said.