American Culture (BD Shadow)

American Culture written with pictures from 'Red Rock'

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March 12, 2003
COBELL v. NORTON: Court Memorandum and Order.

Court sanctions defendants again for deliberately submitting a false affidavit to defraud the Court and plaintiffs that the General Accounting Office conducted historical accountings of individual Indian trust assets when they, in fact, maintained that they had never conducted an accounting of any individual Indian trust assets.

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"In sum, despite the fact that the Interior officials in charge of the present litigation possessed a letter from the General Accounting Office declaring that GAO had neither conducted a comprehensive audit of IIM accounts, nor established any regular practice of auditing IIM accounts, defendants filed an affidavit in support of their motion for partial summary judgment representing that the GAO “dealt separately with IIM accounts” and that it had “separate accounting controls in place for ensuring that IIM accounts were properly processed and the balances were accurately stated.” Moreover, defendants made no attempt to inform the Court of the falsity of the information contained in the affidavit. Defendants’ attempts to deceive the Court are only made more repugnant by the fact that, in their opposition brief to plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions, defendants attempted to shift the blame for their misleading statements to plaintiffs, claiming that plaintiffs “play[] off the inherent ambiguities of such terms as ‘accounting’ and ‘audit.’” Defs.’ Opp. at 9. As dubious assertions go, this ranks down at the bottom with “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”"

"Given the pattern of deceit by defendants that was demonstrated in the factual findings made at the conclusion of the second contempt trial in this case, the Court is unwilling to turn a blind eye to yet another demonstration of defendants’ misconduct and their willingness to mislead the Court and to misrepresent the truth whenever it suits them. As demonstrated above, the Interior Department officials in charge of the instant case possessed a letter from the Office of the Comptroller General informing them that GAO had neither conducted a final comprehensive audit of IIM accounts nor established any regular practice of auditing IIM accounts. Therefore, when defendants submitted the Sapienza Affidavit in support of their motion for partial summary judgment, they were filing an affidavit containing material representations of fact that defendants knew to be false. The Court is satisfied that this affidavit was presented to the Court in bad faith, and it will therefore impose sanctions against defendants pursuant to Rule 56(g) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure."

"[C]ounsel for defendants would be foolish to misconstrue this decision by the Court. The misconduct by defendants that is at issue here was egregious and undertaken in bad faith, and the Court condemns it. Accordingly, defendants, who bear the responsibility for this misconduct, have been held accountable herein. But additional individual accountability is already pending for so many other actions that the commencement of another round now for misconduct that took place in the year 2000 does not appear warranted at this time."

Cobell v Norton is a class action suit against the federal government regarding mismanagement of IIM [Individual Indian Monies] trust accounts (billions of dollars in oil, gas, coal, timber and other revenue derived from more than 11 million acres of land held in trust for the benefit of 500,000 current individual Indian trust beneficiaries)

This Site first became aware of this IMPORTANT lawsuit (for everyone) when an email with the following article arrived the first of March, 2001.

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Cobell v Norton Updates Page

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Native American Culture site created January 1, 2000

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