Brittany Reger - the wife Michael Reger - was an employee and the contact officer for Ashwood.
Michael Reger is the CEO of Northern Oil.
So Northern Oil sold leases to a company where the contact officer was the CEO's wife.
The story was originally told in a blockbuster blog post by The Street Sweeper.
The appearance is not great.
However in Northern Oil's defense the interests sold to Ashwood were tiny (typically 0.5 percent interest in any individual well bore).
Moreover Northern Oil has announced via SEC filing that "our management has concluded, and has confirmed with our outside legal counsel, that our agreement with this private company is not material to us and does not involve any related-party transaction".
Testing Northern Oil's claim that these are not related party transactions
I am a great fan of Ronald Reagan. His slogan when dealing with the Bolshys was "trust but verify". Channeling my inner Ronald Reagan I went about verifying.
I found the domain name ashwoodresources.com. The website is dead - but it was (a) first registered about the time Ashwood Resources (the company) was formed and (b) was originally registered to Tyler Cross of Billings Montana.
Billings is the home town of the Regers and 840 miles from the hairdresser or estate agent.
The domain name was later re-registered to "domains by proxy" a standard way of hiding domain ownership. The change in domain name registration happened about the time The StreetSweeper started looking at Ashwood Resources.
I told the story in this blog post.
I tried contacting Tyler Cross to find out who really owned the site ashwoodresources.com. No luck. Several readers tried the same thing with the same "no comment" answer.
But my readers are resourceful. For instance one reader found that Tyler Cross's parents and Michael Reger's parents made donations to the same church in the name of the same person. The Reger and Cross families go to the same church and donate at the same funerals.
But that still does not prove that Ashwood Resources (the company) is associated with the Regers.
One reader went better. Using Domain Tools he found every website ever registered by Tyler Cross (firstname.lastname@example.org). There were 58 of them - mostly local businesses like yellowstonedrifterboats.com. But a few stood out, notably voyager-oil.com, voyageroil.info, voyageroil.mobi, voyageroil.net.
These are web domains for Voyager Oil - a company controlled by Michael Reger's brother JR Reger.
Also all of these domain names for Voyager Oil have been re-registered. They are now registered to Domains by Proxy.
Again this does not prove that Ashwood Resources is related to the Regers but that hypothesis is looking pretty good. Brittany Reger was Ashwood's contact officer. Ashwood's web services (domain registration at least) was provided by the same person as Voyager Oil's web service (Tyler Cross). Cross's family probably knows the Reger family through their church and through attendance at the same funerals.
Tyler Cross can provide the definitive answer as to whether Ashwood and the Regers are related parties. Alas his answer is a firm "no comment". He has done nothing obviously wrong. All he did was register domain ownership and then shift those registrations to Domains by Proxy.
Tyler Cross has the definitive answer.
I have again asked for Tyler's help. But really it is not my business any more. The SEC has the power to subpoena him and find the truth.
They should use that power.