Thu Oct 1st, 2015
The Southern Ute Drum
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund discussed the successes and downfalls of fiscal year 2015 at an annul meeting held Monday, Sept. 28 at the Sky Ute Casino Resort.
The Growth Fund Properties Group had the most success in FY 2015.
Patrick Vaughn, President and COO of GF Properties talked about the company’s memorable year. Including new apartments that are being built in Oceanside, Calif. a couple blocks from the SpringHill Suites by Marriott – that the tribe owns – and the sale of the Belmar Properties in Lakewood, Colo., for profit.
“Fiscal year 2015 was our best year as a real estate group,” Vaughn said.
Bob Zahradnik, Operating Director of the Growth Fund said the tribe should be pleased with the returns received from real estate, but reminded the membership that oil and gas has, and will continue to be the main revenue generator for the tribe.
“Real estate had a fabulous year,” Zahradnik said. “But you’ll never see the returns of oil and gas from real estate.”
It’s no secret that the oil and gas prices have drastically declined over the last year. The price crash is due in large part to America making more oil and Saudi Arabia announcing they would not reduce oil production, Zahradnik said.
“Oil has been good to this tribe, but you got to work through the hard times,” he said. “Delta House – the 96-foot semi-submersible floating production system in the Gulf of Mexico – will be a big part of [the tribe’s] revenue over the next 10 years.”
The GF company hit the hardest this past year was AKA Energy LLC, Zahradnik said. AKA Energy LLC designs, constructs, and operates natural gas gathering, treating, and processing facilities in a wide range of sizes off the reservation.
Brian Briscoe, President and CEO of AKA Energy said that the company has done multiple things to cut expenses and reduce the cost of ongoing business.
Another company that took a hit this year was Red Willow Production Company.
“It was a very challenging year for us; we’re hoping that prices stay where they’re as a minimum, or improve,” President and COO Albert Brown, said.
Looking to fiscal year 2016, Tribal Council has instructed the Growth Fund to hold more frequent regular meetings with the tribal members to provide updates, Vice Chairwoman Ramona Y. Eagle said.
These meetings are held to educate the tribal members on what is going on, Council Treasurer James M. Olguin said.
“We have to be real with the numbers and the actuals,” he said.
Councilman Alex S. Cloud encouraged tribal members to ask questions and visit the Growth Fund for answers.
“[Tribal Council] has offices in the Growth Fund … set up an appointment and we can sit down at the Growth Fund and talk,” he said.
A few tribal members expressed gratitude to the Growth Fund and Tribal Council for the honest presentation.
“It was a good presentation … a good report, so now we know where we stand,” tribal elder Stanley Frost said.