Oops! Dunn County mistakenly receives trust paymentMANNING — Dunn County commissioners authorized the payment of nearly $30,000 to Oxy USA Inc. after the county was mistaken for the trustee of a mineral trust.
By: Betsy Simon, The Dickinson Press
MANNING — Dunn County commissioners authorized the payment of nearly $30,000 to Oxy USA Inc. after the county was mistaken for the trustee of a mineral trust.
Dunn County Auditor and Treasurer Tracey Dolezal told that commission at Wednesday’s monthly meeting at the courthouse in Manning that Oxy had accidently paid the county $29,949.
Dunn County State’s Attorney Ross Sundeen said to the county commissioners that sometimes when companies cannot locate an owner of mineral rights they will petition the court to establish a trust.
In this case, Sundeen said the Dunn County treasurer was made trustee for the revenue production income and the county received the funds.
“Half of the money goes into the county’s general fund and the other half goes into a special trust fund that is held for a period of time before it has to change to the state of North Dakota if no one shows up to claim it,” Sundeen said. “During the course of all their business with the treasurers’ trustee, they inadvertently included the Manning address for the trust, and so those monies came in just like they would have for mineral owners and the money had been deposited.
“Then, through the 2013 routine audit of the account, we learned that we weren’t actually the trustee of the trust, which has its own trustee, so we notified Oxy and brought it to their attention.”
Sundeen said Oxy verified the information, so he needed the commission’s consent to take $14,975 from both the county’s general fund and the trust fund to reimburse Oxy for the payment to the Luther Trust.
Sundeen added that Oxy also sent a check for more than $50,000, but that check was destroyed and was never deposited into a county account.
“They would have paid us nearly $100,000 if we hadn’t caught it on our end,” Sundeen said.
In other business:
Dolezal asked the commission to consider hiring a part-time contract maintenance person to handle smaller projects around the courthouse, such as changing furnace filters and general maintenance, without professional help.
Dolezal said a company was called in recently to do such a project and charged the county $115 per hour for seven hours of work.
Commissioner Donna Scott asked whether the county could find someone willing to take the position since it is not full-time, but Commissioner Daryl Dukart said the county “can’t leave the door open to $115 per hour” help, so it couldn’t hurt to put some feelers out and see if someone would be interested in taking the job.