indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
OST can't find owners of more than $70M in trust funds
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Filed Under: Cobell | Trust

Despite increased efforts, the Office of Special Trustee still can't find the rightful owners of more than $70 million in Indian trust funds, according to a report filed in court on Wednesday.

As of June 30, there were 70,704 "whereabouts unknown accounts" in the Indian trust, according to the Interior Department's latest status report. That's up from the 62,640 WAU accounts that were identified as of March 31.

The total worth of the 70,000-plus accounts came to $70.7 million, the report stated. That's higher than the $62.7 million the department disclosed just four months ago.

According to the Bryan Marozas, the program manager of OST's beneficiary call center, the number of WAU accounts has increased due to the way trust reform is being carried out. Once the department's fiduciary trust model is completed, the number "is expected to stabilize," he said.

But the rate at which the number of WAU accounts are added to the system continues to surpass the rate at which OST locates the rightful owners of Indian trust funds. That makes it difficult for the agency to catch up.

For example, 14,234 accounts with a total value of $6.6 million were added to the WAU list from April 1 through June 30. During the same time frame, OST was only able to locate the rightful owners of 6,170 accounts worth $6.4 million, according to the report.

The record was no better from January 1 to March 31. During that time, OST added 12,164 accounts worth more than $7 million to the list and located only 4,382 account holders with a total value of $5.9 million.

Of the 70,000-plus WAU accounts, the majority contain less than $1,000. A large chunk -- 25,194 accounts -- each have less than $1, according to the report.

But there a significant number of WAU accounts with balances greater than $1,000 and balances greater than $5,000. There are 69 accounts that have balances greater than $50,000, money that isn't being distributed to the proper owners.

The number of WAU accounts plays into the Cobell trust fund lawsuit, which entered its 11th year in June. The plaintiffs say the department's numbers are unreliable because the data in the computer systems has not been verified.

Without knowing who has been paid and who hasn't, the department has no way of knowing whether the money got to the correct beneficiaries. A trial that will start in October is expected to shed some light on the issue.

A separate issue also affects the accounting but in a different way. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has long used "special deposit accounts" to hold trust funds in temporary accounts until it identifies the rightful owner.

In many cases, the BIA is able to deposit the money into the correct account. According to the report filed in court, over $43 million in SDA monies has been properly distributed.

But more than $15 million in over 11,000 special deposit accounts remains in limbo, according to the report. These accounts will not be part of the historical accounting, the department said in its May 2007 plan, an exclusion that will also be considered at the upcoming trial.

"Accounting for these SDA is not a historical endeavor, because any distribution from an SDA to an IIM account will be a current period transaction after December 31, 2000, the end of the historical accounting period," the report stated. "As a result, the 2007 plan excludes SDA."

The report filed yesterday was the department's 30th since the start of the Cobell case. The reports are filed every quarter in order to keep the court informed of trust reform efforts.

Quarterly Reports:
30th | 29th

Historical Accounting :
2007 Historical Accounting Plan (May 2007) | Report to Congress (May 2007)

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Kempthorne - http://www.indiantrust.com
Office of Special Trustee - http://www.doi.gov/ost
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell/index.htm

Related Stories:
Judge opens electronic data to Cobell plaintiffs (07/10)
Another Cobell historical accounting hearing (7/9)
Judge expresses views on Indian trust fund accounting (06/19)
Hearing on Cobell historical accounting trial (6/18)
Cobell prepares for court battle on accounting (5/30)
Cobell prepares for historical accounting trial (5/18)
Judge prods DOI on Indian trust fund accounting (5/15)
First status conference for Cobell accounting trial (5/14)
Cobell status conference pushed back to May 14 (05/02)
Attorney calls $7B Cobell offer pennies on dollar (4/24)
Cobell heads to landmark accounting trial (4/23)
Judge orders Cobell accounting trial for October 10 (4/20)
Jodi Rave: Cobell calls for accountability (4/12)
Editorial: No justice in $7B offer to settle Cobell (4/6)
Lawmaker questions $7B plan to settle trust cases (4/4)
Gonzales' trust testimony downplayed (3/30)
Listening Lounge: House hearing on BIA-OST (3/30)
Mediator suggests $7-9B settlement for Cobell (3/30)
Jodi Rave: Cobell calls trust offer 'insulting' (3/30)
Senate hearing on Indian trust fund litigation (3/29)
Gonzales won't testify on trust fund (3/28)
Supreme Court refuses Cobell appeals (3/27)
Editorial: The billion-dollar question (3/26)
Senate hearing on trust fund litigation on Thursday (3/26)
The downfall of J. Steven Griles (3/26)
Blast from the Past: NBC segment on Cobell (3/21)
Opinion: US owes Indians billions for theft (3/14)
Bush aide linked to Special Trustee firing resigns (3/14)
BIA names new director for Navajo regional office (3/14)
Mother Jones: Pennies on the dollar for Cobell (3/12)
Bush proposes $7B trust fund settlement (3/8)
Dorgan and Thomas disagree on Cobell settlement (1/22)
Jodi Rave: Cobell sees hope for case in new year (1/20)
NewStandard: Tribes turn to court over trust funds (01/08)
Jodi Rave: Interior mum on class action tribal suit (01/05)
Tribes file class action trust accounting lawsuit (01/04)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Native nations unite on uranium mine cleanup (7/29)
Audio from House subcommittee hearing on five tribal measures (7/29)
House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs hearing (7/29)
Witness List: SCIA hearing on natural disasters in Indian Country (7/29)
Gyasi Ross: Tribes put principle over profit in banning Ted Nugent (7/29)
Steven Newcomb: UN perpetuates dominance of Native peoples (7/29)
Megan Red Shirt-Shaw: Music festival outlaws faux headdresses (7/29)
BIA holds final in-person meeting on federal recognition reform (7/29)
'Caucasians' t-shirt sees boost in popularity thanks to Native DJ (7/29)
WyoFile: Tribes depend on Medicaid funding for health services (7/29)
Another member of Miccosukee Tribe killed in fatal car accident (7/29)
Former employee sentenced for theft from Chippewa Cree Tribe (7/29)
Editorial: Washington team's 'racial slur' has no place in society (7/29)
Review: 'Unreal City' exploits coal from Hopi and Navajo tribes (7/29)
Senate bill introduced to kill Tohono O'odham Nation casino bid (7/29)
Mohegan Tribe reports declines in gaming revenues and profits (7/29)
Muscogee Nation adds steakhouse to $335M casino expansion (7/29)
Editorial: Proposed Pojoaque Pueblo compact hurts New Mexico (7/29)
Tim Giago: Lakota and Pueblo Indians on Pine Ridge Reservation (7/28)
Native Sun News: President of Oglala Sioux Tribe dodges bullets (7/28)
Puyallup fashion designer competes for prize in Project Runway (7/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets business meeting on bills (7/28)
NIEA heads to Capitol Hill to advocate for Native language bills (7/28)
Obama signs Pascua Yaqui and Hoonah Indian Association bills (7/28)
Ho-Chunk Inc executive Lance Morgan receives business honor (7/28)
Charles Roessel: BIE reform plan includes teacher certification (7/28)
Troy Eid: Marijuana experiment in Colorado hurts Indian youth (7/28)
BIA hosts scoping meeting on Paiute Tribe land-into-trust bid (7/28)
Cherokee Nation program keeps former inmates out of prison (7/28)
Grand Ronde Tribes disenroll 86 descendants of treaty signer (7/28)
Protest targets disenrollments within Saginaw Chippewa Tribe (7/28)
At least 10 tribes adopt laws to recognize same-sex mariages (7/28)
KUOW: Coeur d'Alene Tribe cleans meth houses with EPA funds (7/28)
Law Article: Supreme Court sends reminder on tribal immunity (7/28)
Unsettled: Passamaquoddy Tribe awaits constitutional reform (7/28)
KGOU: Indian Times review of news affecting Oklahoma tribes (7/28)
Judge hears dispute over United Keetoowah Band gaming site (7/28)
Chumash Tribe plans hotel tower with $160M casino expansion (7/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe changes architects for casino plan (7/28)
Soo Tribe casino partner was developer behind failed racetrack (7/28)
Editorial: State must negotiate compact with Pojoaque Pueblo (7/28)
Native Sun News: IHS hospital at Pine Ridge undergoes review (7/25)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Group disturbs tranquility at Bear Butte (7/25)
Indian Health Service discloses privacy breach of patient data (7/25)
BIA extends comment period on federal recognition regulation (7/25)
Navajo Nation president calling for FBI probe of brutal murders (7/25)
Jennie Stockle: Justice for victims of Cedarville mass shooting (7/25)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.