Osage Nation wins big ruling in trust mismanagement case
The federal government owes the Osage Nation of Oklahoma at least $250 million for trust asset mismanagement, a judge with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled.

Judge Emily Hewitt said the Bureau of Indian Affairs failed to collect all oil royalties on the Osage mineral estate and failed to properly invest the royalties it did collect. The decision covers the period 1972 to 2000.

Additional damages might be awarded. Hewitt said she will consider the tribe's claims for more money at a future trial that will focus on some specific issues.

If the $250 million stands up, it will likely be the largest ever in a tribal trust mismanagement case. Most tribal trust cases have been settled or adjudicated for amounts far less -- typically under $50 million, according to an independent study commissioned by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

The Osage mineral estate was created by an act of Congress. Money from oil and gas development is collected for the tribe and distributed to individual tribal members.

Get the Story:
Court: U.S. owes Osage Nation $250 million (The Tulsa World 5/5)
Press Release: Osage Nation Wins Key Decision in Osage Trust Case (Osage Nation 5/3)

Court Decision:
Osage Nation v. US (April 30, 2010)

Related Stories:
Osage Nation trust suit survives first test (07/31)