Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | Opinion

Tex Hall: Distribute minimum payments from Cobell settlement






Tex Hall. Courtesy/MHA Nation

Tex Hall, the chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of North Dakota, offers a solution to long-delayed payments from $3.4 billion Cobell trust fund settlement:
I am proposing that the two parties involved – the Cobell Class Counsel and the United States – ask the District Court to approve an amendment to the Settlement Agreement to allow the Garden City Group to immediately start sending out a minimum payment to members of the Trust Administration Class. I understand that sometimes there are understandable, and even unavoidable, delays in a settlement this large. But this delay is now unquestionably hurting the health and wellbeing of families in Indian Country. It is time for leadership and a solution.

The Settlement Agreement already mandates a minimum payment of $500 to each member of the Trust Administration Class, but with adjustments that sum is expected to rise to $800. I can’t think of a good reason why the parties should not change the Settlement Agreement to allow the Garden City Group to at least start sending out $800 checks to known members of the Trust Administration Class this spring. Even though there are several thousand appeals remaining, the vast majority of the Trust Administration Class members have already been identified. Those $800 payments would have an immediate impact in Indian Country. Or they could be $1,000 payments, or even fifty percent of the estimated amount to be paid out with the remainder to be paid out later. Either way, I think it’s hard to miss the point that one of the reasons that Eloise Cobell brought her case was to put an end to harmful financial decision-making by the federal government. And yet, here we are.

Get the Story:
Tex Hall: Time to Help Families Still Waiting for Cobell Second Round (Indian Country Today 5/19)