Oklahoma Issues

Throughout Hobbs Straus’ history, our attorneys have assisted Oklahoma tribes on a variety of issues and, since the establishment of our Oklahoma office in 1996, we have been exclusively positioned to meet the unique and challenging needs of Oklahoma tribes both locally and nationally. Hobbs Straus, staffs several experienced Indian law practitioners, including a number of Indian attorneys from Oklahoma in both our Washington, DC and Oklahoma offices. As a result, Hobbs Straus is able to provide a vast array of services to our Oklahoma tribal clients, some of which are described below:

Sovereignty and Jurisdiction. At the core of our service to Oklahoma tribes is an understanding of the unique history of laws specific to Oklahoma and their impact on tribal sovereignty and jurisdictional issues, whether related to land acquisition, land use, taxation, gaming, tribal constitution and code development, tribal/state relations, self-governance and self-determination, education, transportation, housing, or litigation.

Gaming. Hobbs Straus attorneys led the way in negotiating, obtaining legislative support, and acquiring federal approval of a Class III gaming compact in Oklahoma in order to secure tribal gaming facilities in Oklahoma from federal threats against Class II gaming, lower vendor and development costs, and expand opportunities for Tribes to increase much needed revenues to support tribal programs. In addition, Hobbs Straus attorneys regularly advise tribal clients regarding management and development issues and vendor agreements, prize and tort claims, game classification, employment, federal and tribal gaming regulation, IRS reporting, and a host of related issues.

Corporate/Business. Diversification of tribal economies and protection of tribal assets are essential for Oklahoma tribes to secure a sound future for themselves. Along these lines, Hobbs, Straus attorneys regularly provide advice on the development of tribal codes to support business activity, the formation and operation of tribally-owned corporate businesses, financing and taxation matters. For instance, we have assisted our clients with the establishment of federal corporate charters, SBA 8a approval, joint ventures with non-tribal entities.

Taxation. Federal, state, and tribal taxation are often at the forefront of tribes’ efforts to protect and defend their sovereignty and jurisdiction. Our clients call upon us regularly to advise and assist them on wide-ranging tax matters, from developing and enforcing tribal tax codes, to negotiating tax compacts with the State, or defending against IRS audits. In fact, the latest model Oklahoma Tobacco Compact with tribes – which our attorneys negotiated – requires state-licensed wholesalers to collect and remit tribal taxes directly to tribes and generates more revenue for tribal governments without the prior State collection and retention or strings that were attached to expenditure of the tribal taxes.

Housing. Among our clients are tribal housing authorities whom we assist with the development of housing policies and procedures and advise regarding rental and homebuyer agreements and disputes, and compliance with Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA).

Litigation. Hobbs Straus strives to preserve and protect the interests of our tribal clients through more amicable, less expensive means, but when litigation becomes necessary or is unavoidable, we have the experience and horsepower to meet our clients’ needs. Specifically, we have litigated in the United States Supreme Court, the Tenth Circuit, several federal district courts, the state courts of Oklahoma, a number of tribal and CFR courts, and a variety of federal administrative forums including, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), the Interior Boards of Indian Appeals, and Interior Board of Contract Appeals.

Training and Counseling. Our attorneys’ goal is to provide tribal decision-makers with the broadest range of options available for any particular issue and assist them with understanding the various advantages and disadvantages associated with each. We also aim to assist tribal leaders with their understanding of the vast legal, political, and practical issues facing them. Accordingly, we regularly provide counsel and guidance at tribal government and tribal agency/board meetings, planning sessions, and membership meetings. We also provide training to tribal governmental and business leaders on a variety of legal matters.