Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement

Blog: Crime of the century with Indian trust fund management





"After 15 years of fighting, a judge has approved a $3.4 billion settlement for activist Elouise Cobell and others who joined in her class action suit to recoup billions of dollars owed to Native Americans in mineral royalties, grazing fees, and other revenues that were mishandled or lost over the course of more than 100 years.

In addition to depriving Native Americans of their fair share, the government’s defending the stewardship of the program by the Office of the Special Trustee (OST), an agency within the Interior Department which was “created to improve the accountability and management of Indian funds held in trust by the federal government,” resulted in collateral waste and abuse. Robbie Levine, then the Chief of the Information Office of the Bureau of Land Management (which approves and supervises leases on Indian lands), received her first negative job rating after she came forward about security weaknesses and was threatened with removal by her bosses before she took the stand in the case.

Additionally, the Department of Justice's defense of OST's mismanagement may have figured into its lack of action against an employee who steered lucrative contracts to an accounting firm that had lavished him with gifts, golfing trips, and a free place to live."

Get the Story:
Crime of the Century? Judge Approves $3.4 Billion Settlement for More Than 100 Years' Worth of Bungled Royalty Payments to Native Americans (Project on Government Oversight Blog 6/22)

Related Stories:
Judge approves $3.4B settlement in Cobell trust fund lawsuit (6/21)
Schedule for fairness hearing for Cobell trust fund settlement (6/20)
Quapaw Tribe tries to opt out of Cobell trust fund settlement (6/20)
Judge to hold fairness hearing for Cobell trust fund settlement (6/17)
Jerilyn DeCoteau: Cobell settlement just doesn't feel right (6/6)
Fairness hearing in Cobell settlement scheduled for June 20 (5/26)