An Osage Nation tribal court is expected to proceed this week with a schedule hearing on an open-records lawsuit filed against Osage Principal Chief John Red Eagle by the tribe-owned newspaper.
Despite the fact that the newspaper recently received the document which it had requested in the open-records case “the question remains about an open records law violation,” Osage News Editor Shannon Shaw Duty said earlier this week.
A hearing in the Osage News lawsuit is scheduled for Thursday, July 11.
Shaw Duty said she is “pleased the chief finally released” the requested record. She added, however, the newspaper is obligated to go forward with the lawsuit in order to address the issues which led to its open-records complaint.
“The Osage News still has a duty to uphold its integrity and follow through with the law,” Shaw Duty stated. “We are still asking the court to hold Chief Red Eagle accountable for violating the Open Records Act.”
The editor said the newspaper also is asking that the chief be required to pay the newspaper’s attorney fees.
In January, the Osage News filed a request under the tribe’s Open Records Act seeking terms of a contractual agreement Red Eagle made with a pipeline consultant.
Copies of the consulting contract with Rod Hartness, a non-tribal member, were released by the chief’s office last week, shortly after the newspaper filed its suit alleging the open-records law violation.
Red Eagle also is named in a pair of ethics complaints filed last month by Osage Nation Attorney General Jeff Jones. No court date has been set for those hearings.
The chief has denied wrongdoing in the ethics cases, which allege that Red Eagle interfered with an investigation by the AG’s office and improperly influenced payment of disputed travel expenses for a member of the Osage Nation Gaming Enterprise Board.