FROM THE ARCHIVE
Trust fund settlement talks scrapped
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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

For yet another time, talks to settle an embarrassing class action lawsuit affecting billions in dollars of individual Indian funds have failed.

Attorney Dennis Gingold, representing an estimated 300,000 account holders, confirmed the end of discussion on the issue on Tuesday. In a letter to the Department of Justice's civil division, he vowed never again to be drawn into the government's charade.

"This confirmation reflects the failure of Justice, Treasury, and Interior to conduct settlement discussions in good faith," Gingold wrote. "This is now the fifth time that plaintiffs’ have wasted substantial resources and time on futile and bad faith settlement discussions."

"This will never happen again."

Gingold said he provided previously confidential information to the government's defense team. He now wants all information returned or destroyed and should the government use the substance of any data in the future, he will seek the "most severe sanctions."

The Departments of Interior and Justice had no immediate comment about the breakdown.

Most recently, talks failed when the plaintiffs said a Clinton appointee at Justice last fall rejected a legal document that would have ended claims on how much the government owes account holders. At a Congressional hearing this past spring, Special Trustee Slonaker confirmed the rejection by government attorneys

At the time, the plaintiffs said they weren't interested in a settlement because of the past failures. "Unless there are assurances that Cabinet officials will implement what they agreed to, we're not going to spend five minutes talking to them any more, Gingold told Indianz.Com in March.

Get the Letter:
Gingold to Department of Justice (11/27)

Today on Indianz.Com:
Norton sees GOP support on overhaul (11/28)
NCAI shoring up Norton opposition (11/28)
Tribal leaders challenging Norton (11/28)
Norton wants to cut Interior jobs (11/28)

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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