Today marks a date in history in regard to the Cobell Trust Administration Class Settlement.  According to the Garden City Group and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, the first checks were mail today, Monday, September 15, 2014 to the Trust Administration Class in the Cobell Indian Trust Settlement.

On August 30, 2014, the Interior Department provided the data to Garden City, the firm Court-appointed to administer the Settlement, for the payments and on September 11, The United States District Court for the District of Columbia entered an Order approving plaintiffs’ unopposed motion to begin distribution of nearly $950 million. This was the final approval needed to commence payment of the Trust Administration portion of settlement funds to Class Members.

“Garden City is sending checks to Trust Administration Class Members where we have a current address beginning today,” said Jennifer Keough, Chief Operating Officer, Garden City. “Checks may take five to seven days to reach Class Members once they have been mailed.”

This settlement is the largest class action settlement against the federal government. The case, filed in 1996 by the late Elouise Cobell and other Native American Leaders sought an accounting of individual Indian trust accounts as well as reform of the trust system, which had been mismanaged for generations. Once the case settled, the Plaintiffs' attorneys, Bill Dorris and David Smith of Kilpatrick Townsend and Garden City were tasked with distributing the funds to 500,000 individual beneficiaries across the country. They found the records had suffered from decades of neglect and there were "insufficient or absolutely no addresses for over 315,000 class members, 22,000 individuals listed as a live 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.

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