FROM THE ARCHIVE

Cason working on trust reform quarterly update

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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2002

Deputy Secretary of Interior J. Steven Griles says he is in charge of trust reform but his associate appears to be doing a whole lot of the grunt work.

In addition to being the point negotiator on resolving numerous information technology failures at the department, Associate Deputy Secretary James Cason has been working on finalizing the 8th quarterly trust reform report, a government attorney told a federal judge. He was working "almost all day" on Tuesday to complete the report, Sandra Spooner said yesterday.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the Interior to submit the report by Friday. Even though it was due over a month ago, Secretary Gale Norton had been holding it back, instead seeking permission to submit a document prepared by EDS Corporation, a management consulting firm.

But Lamberth rejected the request and ordered Norton to personally vouch for the contents of the report, which covers the months of August, September and October He said she "must comply" with his December 21, 1999, decision which placed the quarterly reporting requirement on the department.

The reports have been a key focus of Norton's ongoing contempt trial. She is charged with hiding the true status of trust reform, a debate which led to a dispute between her aides and Special Trustee Tom Slonaker and his staff.

Slonaker and a group of project managers refused to certify the 7th quarterly report. Slonaker said he was not happy with the completeness of the information while four project managers said they were being coerced by Solicitor Bill Myers.

Norton's attorneys sought a month-long extension while the debate was occurring. Lamberth later characterized this as "game playing."

The accuracy of reports drafted during the Clinton administration is also under question.

Get Previous Reports:
7th | 6th | 5th | 4th | 3rd | 2nd | 1sh

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust, Department of Interior - http://www.doi.gov/indiantrust
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Trust Reform, NCAI - http://130.94.214.68/main/pages/
issues/other_issues/trust_reform.asp

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In The Hoop: Interior Bungling (10/10)
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Objections delaying trust fund report (9/6)
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