Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:28 PM
$3.4 Billion Cobell Settlement Cleared for Implementation
The $3.4 billion Cobell Settlement became final last Friday, November 24, following action by the Supreme Court and expiration of the appeal period. The Settlement is the result of a class-action lawsuit first filed in 1996 by Elouise Cobell, Blackfeet, of Montana. The lawsuit sought an accounting of trust accounts held on behalf of 500,000 Indian trust beneficiaries. The Individual Indian Money accounts have been in existence for over 100 years and the subject of many claims of mismanagement and fraud. The Settlement was initially approved by Congress on November 30, 2010 and again by the district court on August 4, 2011 though it had since been held up by appeals.
As part of the historic Settlement, $1.5 billion will be distributed to class members for asset management claims and $1.9 billion will be allocated to the Cobell Land Consolidation Program to reduce the number of undivided interests in Indian trust land titles. Class members of the lawsuit could receive their first payments as early as Christmas. According to the Department of the Interior, an updated plan to implement the Cobell Land Consolidation Program will be released by the end of the year.
You can find additional information on the Cobell Settlement here:
Cobell Settlement to Begin Paying Out by ChristmasÂ (Indian Country Today)
Salazar Announces Final Steps on Cobell Litigation and Implementation of SettlementÂ (U.S. Department of the Interior)
For more information on theÂ Cobell Land Consolidation ProgramÂ visitÂ www.doi.gov/cobell.