John Stafford selected as Southern Ute Growth Fund Operating Director – Energy

Great Seal of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Christine Sage, Chairman – 970.563.0100

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 06, 2019 – 3:30 P.M.


John Stafford selected as Southern Ute Growth Fund Operating Director – Energy

Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The Southern Ute Indian Tribe would like to announce the selection of the new Operating Director of Energy for the Southern Ute Growth Fund, Mr. John Stafford. Stafford will supervise ventures related to energy resource exploration and development, gas gathering, processing, petroleum refining and transportation, and alternative energy. Stafford will work directly with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Red Willow Production Company, Aka Energy Group, Red Cedar Gathering Group and their affiliates. While serving in this capacity, Stafford is responsible for identifying and evaluating opportunities for new investments and divestitures subject to approval from the Growth Fund Management Committee (GFMC) and the Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council.

Stafford arrived on Monday, April 15, 2019. Prior to joining the Southern Ute Growth Fund, Stafford was the President of Laris Oil & Gas, LLC, a private oil and gas exploration company which he founded in 2002. He was also the Vice President & General Counsel for Patina Oil & Gas Corporation, a publicly traded company on the NYSE that was subsequently acquired by Noble Energy for $4.9 billion.

As an attorney in private practice he represented several clients that entered into Section 29 Tax Credit transactions with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. These transactions enabled the Tribe to benefit financially from the enhanced development of coalbed methane and tight gas reservoirs. Prior to becoming an Environmental and Oil & Gas attorney, Stafford was a Senior Geologist for ARCO Oil & Gas Company, where his work included operations on other Indian reservations.

Stafford is a graduate of Syracuse University (BS in Geology), Texas A&M University (MS in Geological Oceanography, and University of Denver (JD). He is a professional geologist in the State of Wyoming and is licensed to practice law in both Colorado and Wyoming.

Chairman Sage stated, “The Tribe looks forward to the expertise and experience Mr. Stafford brings as the new Southern Ute Growth Fund Operating Director – Energy.”

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Southern Ute Indian Tribe clarifies decision to terminate relationship with the Southern Ute Community Action Programs, Inc.

Great Seal of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Christine Sage, Chairman – 970.563.0100

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 16, 2018 – 4:15 P.M


Southern Ute Indian Tribe clarifies decision to terminate relationship with the Southern Ute Community Action Programs, Inc.

Southern Ute Reservation – The Southern Ute Indian Tribe (the “Tribe”) has maintained a longstanding relationship with the Southern Ute Community Action Program, Inc. (“SUCAP”). In addition to providing direct financial support, the Tribe, since 1966, has applied for and administered grants from the federal government supporting SUCAP programs. On Wednesday, August 1, 2018, Tribal Council unanimously agreed to terminate the relationship between the Tribe and SUCAP effective December 31, 2018.

In recent years, Tribal Council has become concerned that the nature of some SUCAP programs had changed and that they were inconsistent with the federal programs that were funding them. Grants which were primarily funded under federal programs intended to principally benefit tribal members or other Native Americans in the community were often not being used for that purpose. The Tribe has determined it cannot, in good faith, continue to apply for grants under federal programs where SUCAP does not utilize the funds for the population which they were intended to benefit.

By way of example, the Tribe has historically funded the SUCAP Head Start program. In originally authorizing the Head Start program, Congress allocated funds for an “Indian Head Start program”. The Tribe is included within Region XI, designated for Head Start Programs operated by federally recognized tribes. Region XI consists of approximately 150 tribally operated Head Start programs designed to principally serve American Indian and Alaska Native families and children. Currently, these programs assist 20,000 children, over 81% of whom are American Indian or Alaska Native.  Many of those programs incorporate cultural and traditional language practices. In contrast, today the majority of children enrolled in the SUCAP Head Start and Early Head Start programs are non-Native.  Less than 8% are Southern Ute tribal members. SUCAP has indicated to us it is the only tribally operated Head Start program within Region XI where the majority of children served are non-Native. The Southern Ute Tribal Council feels it is not appropriate for the Tribe to request federal funds allocated to benefit disadvantaged Native American youth when SUCAP does not primarily do so, while taking those funds away from tribal programs that actually fulfill the program’s intent. SUCAP may apply for funds to support its Head Start initiative from federal programs not intended to benefit primarily tribal members.

This was not a hastily made decision.  In fact, this decision by the Tribal Council should come as no surprise to SUCAP. For some time now, the Tribal Council has expressed to SUCAP its concerns regarding administration of its programs. These concerns are not limited to those mentioned above.  There have been increasing problems with the timeliness and accuracy of the information SUCAP provides regarding the programs it administers. In addition, tribal departments, including the court system and health department, have lost confidence in many of SUCAP’s programs and, in some cases, decline to use them.

SUCAP can’t attribute any decline in services to this action by the Tribe. For many years, the Tribe has attempted to convince SUCAP to identify other sources of funds to support its operations.  However, SUCAP has made little effort to do so. On October 11, 2011, the Tribe entered into a tentative agreement in which it indicated it would provide significant financial support for a new facility for SUCAP contingent upon SUCAP raising the additional necessary funds. However, upon learning seven years later that SUCAP had done almost nothing to support its end of the arrangement – having only raised approximately .2% of the funds it needed –  the Tribe was required to cancel that arrangement.

These and other matters caused the Tribe to become increasingly concerned about SUCAP’s management. Based on these concerns, the Tribal Council has determined it necessary to discontinue any further relationship with SUCAP. The Tribe has also instructed SUCAP to discontinue use of the Southern Ute name or imply any further association with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. The Tribe is investigating those services formerly provided by SUCAP that it may now administer.

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