The feds' probe of State Lease 309 - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

The feds' probe of State Lease 309


Documents more than 70 years old show the FBI and U.S. Attorney opened up an investigation in 1941 into the transactions involving State Lease 309, an oil lease in Union Parish in north Louisiana. 

In the first decade, this lease made the principals of Win or Lose about $100,000 -- they made more money in other parts of the state. 

In October of 1934, Governor O.K. Allen awarded Lieutenant Governor James Noe the rights to drill for oil on State Lease 309.

State records show Noe transferred his interest in the lease in November of 1934 to the Win or Lose Corporation, a company in which Noe, Gov. Allen and Senator Huey Long all had interests.

So Allen awarded Noe the lease, then profited off that same lease after Noe transferred interest to Win or Lose Corporation.

A copy of the federal subpoena to the state shows the feds asked for documents related to two state oil leases, State Leases 318 and 309.

For Lease 309, the federal government wanted a letter that James Noe sent to Gov. Allen in September of 1934.  We couldn't find a copy of that letter.

They also asked for the notice of publication -- the press announcement that shows the state advertised the bid.

Federal investigators also wanted James Noe's bid and all other competing bids received.  You can see on the subpoena that someone wrote in "none" -- the state said they received no other bids. 

The government asked for the documents to be delivered in August of 1941.  But five days before the documents were due, records show the case was indefinitely continued.  We couldn't find any documentation of why the feds dropped the case.  And we don't know whether they ever picked it up again.

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