Trust reform update sheds some light
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Historical Accounting
Bert T. Edwards, a former Clinton official who is now the director of the Office of Historical Trust Accounting (OHTA), takes responsibility for this section on the status of an accounting for IIM beneficiaries.

Edwards says a blueprint for the project and a report identifying preliminary work have been published. The prelminary report, which was available online until the court-ordered Internet shutdown, gave information about the accounting firms that have been hired.

They are: Arthur Andersen LLP (Andersen), Chavarria, Dunne & Lamey LLC (CD&L), Deloitte & Touche LLP, Ernst & Young LLP (E&Y), and Grant Thornton LLP. Additionally, NORC, a nonprofit economics/statistics consultant affiliated with the University of Chicago; Gustavson Associates, an oil and gas consultant; and Booz-Allen & Hamilton, an "integration" contractor have been hired.

Judgment and Per Capita Activity
CD&L has completed a sampling IIM accounts relating to 10 judgment awards and 5 per capita funds. Created for minors and adults not allowed to receive direct payment, both types of accounts are very limited in their transaction activity, notes the report.

According to the report, CD&L has completed an "initial reconciliation" of approximately 8,400 judgment accounts worth a total of $30.6 million. This work is being reviewed by Grant Thornton.

Based on this effort, CD&L will also be working on 159 other groups of judgment awards. The project is expected to provide an accounting for 15,000 account holders.

The per capita sampling has not been completed, according to the report.

Arthur Andersen Projects
Arthur Andersen, supported by NORC, is working on an IIM project for 300 members of the Agua Caliente Tribe of California. This project has not yet commenced, according to the report.

Andersen did complete an initial review, but not an historical accounting, of accounts with balances greater than $1 million for the Department of Justice. According to the report, the effort will be expanded into an historical project.

Andersen has also done a preliminary review for DOJ to identify all IIM accounts.

Work by OHTA and NORC
OHTA and NORC, along with the Indian Trust Accounting Division (ITAD) of the General Services Administration (GSA), have started a pilot on about 2,000 IIM accounts in the Eastern region of the BIA. As with the judgment awards, these accounts are not high activity as other Indian beneficiaries who have oil, gas and other transactions.

"Many Eastern Region IIM accounts do not have trust real property revenues since there have never been allotted lands in the Region," the report states. "However, some IIM account holders in the Eastern Region may have inherited interests in allotted lands."

Future Reports
Tomorrow, OHTA will publish a "First Periodic Report," which will address issues raised since the publication of the blueprint and preliminary work report.

Edwards also expects to release a comprehensive plan by middle of this year. This plan will provide "a description of how the OHTA will manage the historical accounting," writes Edwards.

Collecting Missing Information
This section is verified by Stephen C. Swanson, project manager. In it, he notes that OHTA has only recently started to identify what types of documents it may need from oil companies, states and local governments or other sources. This "Phase I" is not yet complete.

Swanson also says he disagrees with an EDS recommendation to combine his effort with those at the BIA and the OST. He says coordination might be beneficial but does not support grouping the efforts.

Secretary's Observations | Special Trustee Observations | Trust Transition Observations | Departmental Reorganization | Historical Accounting

Get the Report:
Status Report to the Court Number Eight (1/16)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust, Department of Interior -
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -
Trust Reform, NCAI -

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