FROM THE ARCHIVE
Norton defends quarterly reports
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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2001

In court papers filed late Thursday night, Secretary of Interior Gale Norton defended her department's court-mandated status reports even though her top trust fund official refused to verify the most recent one and has raised concerns about their contents for more than a year.

Special Trustee Tom Slonaker in August did not vouch for the quality of the quarterly report, the seventh since U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the government to produce them. He said he had concerns about the completeness and accuracy of the report.

Some of those doubts were backed up by court monitor Joseph S. Kieffer III. But instead of fully resolving Slonaker's claims, Kieffer instead said Norton sent Lamberth an "untruthful, inaccurate and incomplete" report.

To respond to the charges, Norton's lawyers in a 41-page document said Kieffer relied on insufficient evidence. They also say disclaim that Interior Solicitor Bill Myers tried to intimidate four senior managers into verifying the report.

Instead they say the four, and a fifth one who voiced objections, orally verified the report.

Norton's lawyers also insist Department of Justice attorneys did not edit out or try to reduce Slonaker's criticisms of the reports.

The government is in the midst of preparing its ninth report, which will cover the months of August, September and October.

Today on Indianz.Com:
Few answers on BIA overhaul (11/19)
Norton challenges trust fund receiver (11/19)
BIA reorganization focus of radio show (11/19)

Relevant Links:
Office of the Special Trustee - http://www.ost.doi.gov
Trust Management Improvement Project - http://www.doi.gov/bia/trust/tmip.htm
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com

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