Federal Court Rules in Favor of Osage Nation

Article excerpt

The Osage Nation is expected to file $310 million in damages regarding the Bureau of Indian Affairs' failure to collect oil royalties for more than a quarter century.

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., ruled on Dec. 29 that the BIA failed to collect oil royalties from 1974 to 2000. In addition, the court determined that the Osage Nation's estimates of the U.S. government's failure to properly credit interest income to the Osage tribal trust account from 1973 to 1992 were reasonable.

The 95-page opinion follows a series of court decisions and a trial last June 30 and July 1 that included testimony from federal experts on tribal trust accounting and royalty calculation.

The Osage Nation presented testimony from its oil royalty expert. Wichita-based Koch Industries Inc. also testified about its oil accounting and pricing. The prices Koch offered for oil in Kansas and Oklahoma from 1981 to 1990 were a key issue in the trial. …