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Swimmer criticized for remarks on trust accounting
Thursday, September 25, 2003

Special Trustee Ross Swimmer said a court-ordered historical accounting of the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust will show a discrepancy of only $60.

Swimmer made his remarks at the Osage Nation's Oil and Gas Summit in Oklahoma. The comments drew criticism from David Lester, executive director of the Council Energy Resource Tribes.

"That is a direct statement from a trustee that he is not acting in good faith for the best interests of his beneficiaries," Lester said, The Native American Times reported. Lester said that the Department of Interior's accounting system does not contain all the money that should have been collected on Indian trust land.

Talking about the Cobell Indian trust fund lawsuit, Swimmer said it "is going to be in litigation until it goes to the Supreme Court. . . They’ve dug themselves into a hole that will result in only 5 years of accounting at a cost of $300 billion to still come up with only $60 unaccounted for," The Native American Times reported.

Donna Erwin, Swimmer's top deputy, said trust beneficiaries are getting services for free. "When people look at how their land or resources are being valued against someone else they are forgetting the free accounting, management and building of fences. Because if they did they would see it evens out," she was quoted as saying.

Get the Story:
Swimmer Claims BIA owes Tribes $60 not Billions (The Native American Times 9/24)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Office of Special Trustee - http://www.ost.doi.gov

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Bunker metality evident in trust reform fight (04/22)
At Interior, Indian affairs in a state of flux (02/11)
BIA agencies face new trust rating system (02/10)

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