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Thursday, 18 September, 2014

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Local News

Federal judge approves Cobell Settlement distribution

WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan authorized Garden City Group to commence payment distribution to Trust Administration Class members.
According to indiantrust.com Garden City Group (GCG) began sending out checks to class members that have current addresses on Monday, September 15.
It could take five to seven days to reach class members once they are mailed.
The base payment is $869 but based on the level of activity in an individual’s Individual Indian Money account, payments could be more.
Those with whereabouts unknown addresses that had open IIM accounts at the time of distribution, the payment will be deposited in their IIM account.
The Cobell Settlement is the largest class action settlement against the federal government.  Filed in 1996 by the late Elouise Cobell and other Native American leaders, it sought an accounting of the individual Indian trust accounts and reform of the trust system, which had been mismanaged for over a century.  Once the case settled, counsel for the Plaintiffs, Bill Dorris and David Smith of Kilpatrick Townsend, and Garden City were tasked with distributing funds to 500,000 individual Indian beneficiaries across the country.  However, the records from the Department of Interior reflected decades of neglect. 
David Smith, Counsel for the Cobell Plaintiffs in the Washington, DC office of Kilpatrick Townsend explained, “There were insufficient or absolutely no addresses for over 315,000 class members, 22,000 individuals Interior listed as alive were deceased, over 1,200 Interior listed as deceased we found were still alive, and there were thousands of whom Interior had no record at all.  But it was important that Elouise Cobell’s legacy be fulfilled and that class members receive the money to which they were entitled under the Settlement.  By working closely with tribes, associations, and individual Indians across the country we were able, in just over a year and a half, to fix trust records that had not been adequately addressed by the federal government for generations.”
For more information, please visit www.indiantrust.com.





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