US government, tribe settle debt lawsuits

Sioux Falls, South Dakota (AP) October 2011

The U.S. government has settled three lawsuits against the Oglala Sioux Tribe that had sought to recover more than $800,000 in federal grant money.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuits as long as the tribe makes changes to its accounting practices.

According to the settlement, the government will forgo the $808,917 principal amount if the tribe has its accounting system certified by a licensed accountant, keeps a separate fund for each federal grant or contract and abides by other audit procedures.

The lawsuits said the tribe received millions of dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services in three grants. The government said audits found instances of noncompliance with terms of the grants, but the tribe had not appealed the audit results or returned the disputed money portions.

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