The Osage Limited Liability Company is slowly heading toward a new direction with newly confirmed board member Tim Tall Chief.
As of April 30 the LLC board has yet to hire a new Chief Executive Officer. Principal Chief Scott BigHorse recently appointed Raymond Hankins and Don LaBass to fill the two vacancies on the board. Both men will have to be confirmed by the Osage congress.
The LLC board also has the support of the Third Osage Nation Congress thanks to a resolution of support (ONCR 14-06 sponsored by Congresswoman Maria Whitehorn) passed unanimously by the Congress during the 2014 Hun-Kah Session as the LLC seeks to restructure with new board members from hereon.
Tall Chief, the director of health services for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, received a majority confirmation vote from Congress on April 25. Tall Chief, who retired as deputy commissioner of health and administration for the Oklahoma State Department of Health at the end of 2009, will join current board members Jim Parris and David Stewart as they mull prospective candidates for the CEO post.
Parris said he and the board are considering three applicants as of April 22. The terms for outgoing LLC board members Mary “Liz” Ricketts and Jonathan Taylor expired when the Hun-Kah Congressional session wrapped on April 28. A third board vacancy was created when former board member Paul Bruce’s term expired last year.
To fill two of those spots, Principal Chief Scott BigHorse appointed Tall Chief and Kansas-based businesswoman Patsy Stuke (Osage) to be considered for confirmation by the ON Congress. Stuke and Tall Chief were interviewed by the Congressional Commerce and Economic Development Committee, but only Tall Chief received a recommendation for a confirmation vote by the entire Congress from the committee.
Tall Chief is no stranger to the Osage reformed government having served on the former Health and Wellness Advisory Board and inaugural Health Authority Board. He is also no stranger to helping major organizations move past turmoil. In 2002, Tall Chief was hired to the deputy administrator post as the state health department faced a new start in wake of a 2001 Oklahoma multi-county grand jury report that raised several allegations against the health department including blatant disregard for laws, regulations, policies and allegations of officials hiring unqualified employees and misusing state property for personal use. As a result some people were arrested and/or terminated from their department jobs.
Once working for the state, Tall Chief’s responsibilities included overseeing the health department’s budget and funding, accounting services, human resources and building management to name a few. “That role of financial fixing was huge … It took over two years to fix it and to find the things that had been going wrong … it was a great privilege to be able to do that because it worked,” Tall Chief told the committee regarding his state job. Around the time he left, the state health department had an annual budget of $370 million and approximately 2,300 employees.
Tall Chief briefly discussed his professional work experience as the commerce committee considered his board appointment on April 21. Tall Chief said his post as Citizen Band Potawatomi director of health services involves managing an annual budget of $40 million. Tall Chief said he exercised fiscal responsibility during his tenure at the state and Citizen Band Potawatomi where the budgets under his supervision were at or below the spending threshold.
“When you look at fiscal management and you look at the LLC, I think those are the two keys – are we using the money correctly? Are we doing it in the right way? Are we making the right decisions? And if so, how do we move forward? And if not, how do we correct the problems that have happened in the past and not make those same mistakes again?” Tall Chief said.
Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead said she would support Tall Chief’s confirmation to the board after considering his experience. “I think Mr. Tall Chief will bring that accountability to his board seat,” she said.
But Tall Chief’s appointment did not have everyone’s vote. On April 25, Tall Chief’s confirmation passed with a 10-2 Congressional vote with “no” votes from Congress members Daniel Boone and Shannon Edwards.
Boone said he believed Tall Chief is a highly qualified health care professional but said, “I just think we would be doing him a disservice and a disservice to our people if we appoint him to the LLC board – I think he’s more fit for what his years of experience qualified him for: to be on a health care board.”
Congress committee tables LLC annual report
The Commerce and Economic Development Committee heard a presentation by the two remaining Osage LLC board members during a scheduled April 11 meeting.
That day, LLC board members David Stewart and Jim Parris presented a preliminary annual report to the Congress, but the commerce and economic development committee voted unanimously to table hearing the remainder of the LLC board’s annual report until the completed financial information is received.
According to the April 11 annual report, “revenue for the Osage LLC consists of interest, dividends and gains on investments which totaled approximately $650,000 in 2013. General and administrative expenses for 2013 were $1,170,050. Salaries accounted for $598,588 of total expenses and include salaries and benefits of the Osage (LLC) CEO, Osage CFO, accountant and human resource manager. Other expenses include travel of $62,690, professional fees of $178,380, depreciation and amortization of $65,100, LLC director fees of $76,500, rent of $33,475 and other miscellaneous expense of $155,317. The total net loss for 2013 was $543,726. Overhead was not allocated to the subsidiaries in 2013. In 2014, the Board expects to develop an overhead allocation policy to distribute certain costs which benefit the subsidiaries.”
Regarding the LLC subsidiaries, per the April 11 report:
– Osage Manhattan Builders (construction management, general contracting and design build-out service provider for construction, remodeling and renovation projects) was the LLC’s most successful subsidiary in 2013 thanks to its two largest projects: construction and completion of the Osage Casino Hotel properties in Skiatook and Ponca City.
Osage Manhattan Builders’ “management plans are to continue to work on Native American projects, hospitality and government contracting opportunities within the Midwest region. Net results for 2013 were in excess of $1,507,381 in profit.”
– American Video & Security (AVS) provides security and surveillance services to entities nationwide and is “the only Native American-owned gaming surveillance integrator in the country.”
“In 2013, AVS refocused on its core business and revenues, which increased to almost $6,000,000 resulting in a profit of approximately $120,142. 2014 looks to be slightly profitable on pace with 2013 with several large projects pending from locations in California, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan.”
– Osage Echota is primarily engaged in providing software development, engineering, technical and training program development services to the U.S. federal departments of energy, defense agriculture, as well as private entities.
“During 2013, revenues decreased approximately $800,000 due to reduction in scope of current contracts and contract expiration … A large portion of the company’s business development resources were expended in pursuit of direct government opportunities for which the company is qualified … For 2014, Echota will continue to use its capabilities and expertise to bid on government opportunities. Echota declines were foreseen and cost-management efforts yielded a net loss of about $43,586 for the year.”
– Osage Innovative Solutions utilizes management and vendor teams with experience in smart building design, construction, operation, technology, sourcing and project management services.
“In 2013, the financial picture of Osage Innovative Solutions was still uncertain, as this is still very much a start-up company. Osage LLC will continue to solicit and build its network operations into 2014. Net losses for 2013 were approximately $211,180 for the year as a result of the absence of any contracts.”
– Osage Pinnacle Design Group provides a disciplined management system that promotes the successful execution of projects for its clients by assisting with pre-planning, design, construction, engineering and providing management expertise.
“In 2013-2014, OPDG achieved two major milestones. The first was the awarding of its SBA 8(a) status Jan. 31. The second was the receipt of a Performance Oriented Construction Activities (POCA) contract of $19.5 million which is a vehicle used to award contracts.”
“The Tulsa Corps of Engineers awarded this contract for general repair and renovation contracts in the (Tulsa Corps’) area of responsibility including Tinker Air Force Base, Fort Sill, McAlester Ammunition Plant … Both (milestones) should generate the potential for profits over the next few years, particularly in the area of government contracts … Net results for 2013 were a loss of about $145,657, which was a direct result of the absence of contracts.”
Stewart said the LLC’s required annual audit is not complete pending the receipt of newer information that needs to be factored in. The audit is expected to be completed by May 1.
The LLC’s “rebuilding mode” could take up to one year, Stewart said. He also noted the LLC has no plans to make any passive investments this year.
Original Publish Date: 2014-05-13 00:00:00