Government , Business

External audit of Osage LLC nears completion; broadband project could extend

The end is in sight for an ongoing external audit at Osage LLC.

At Osage LLC’s Jan. 22 board of directors meeting, Frank Freeman confirmed that after six months Moss Adams has almost completed its audit of the company’s finances.

Originally expected to be a quick walkthrough, the process was extended in part due to missing documents from 2018. The time period under review is largely prior to when the current board was seated and records from that period are still spotty.

“They are in the process of winding it up,” Freeman said. “It is going to be a negative audit. We do know that much.”

Moss Adams is one of three firms that have previously audited Osage LLC since 2017 as part of a rebuilding effort after questionable recordkeeping practices and chronic underbidding on projects by previous leadership led to the company almost being dissolved by the Osage Nation Congress.

Meanwhile, Osage LLC will be seeking out an extension from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to complete its broadband expansion projects for the Grayhorse and Bowring communities.

The project is funded through a $3 million Community Connect grant through the USDA and a $450,000 matching money appropriation from the Osage Nation Congress. It has been delayed through a combination of factors, including a belated agreement between the Osage Minerals Council and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation over right of way access and the discovery of the American burying beetle along the proposed route for the fiber optic cable.

Although there is more than a year left on the funding for the Bowring part of the project, the Grayhorse component is set to expire in March. The project is at least six months out from completion, subcontractor Michelle Holiday said.  

“We want all Osages to have WIFI,” the Aquila3 Chief Executive Officer said. “We want to bring the nation into the 21st century.”

“And Netflix,” Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear cracked.