Judge Stepson recuses himself from OMC ethics case

Osage Nation Trial Court Judge Marvin Stepson recused himself from the Osage Nation Attorney General’s ethics case against the Osage Minerals Council at a Feb. 26 hearing.

“If necessary we’ll have oral argument, I don’t think that will be necessary,” Stepson said. “Court will be well advised to recuse itself as an active participant in the process here … we’ll contact another judge and have him set any further hearing.”

Attorney General Jeff Jones filed ethics complaints against seven members of the eight-member Osage Minerals Council Jan. 20. The complaint asks for a declaratory judgment to determine whether Osage Nation ethics laws apply to the OMC. At issue is a required yearly affidavit from elected ON officials to be turned into the ON Trial Court that lists any and all gifts received during the fiscal year, the giver of the gift and the dollar amount of each gift.

Minerals Councilman Talee Redcorn was the only council member not charged and at the Feb. 26 hearing, Stepson said the case against Councilman Andrew Yates had been dismissed.

The OMC’s attorney, Oklahoma City-based David McCullough, was the only one present for the OMC. Jones told McCullough that if he wins the case, he’s coming after McCullough for attorney’s fees.

Jones asked Judge Stepson if Judge Lee Stout would be appointed to the case and whether or not he would set the next hearing 30 days out so he could consider the defendants motion to dismiss, and Stepson said yes.

According to the complaint, Jones sent members of the OMC a letter “informing them that the Ethics Law applies to them and that each member of the Osage Minerals Council shall file the required ethics affidavit.”