Monday, May 6, 2002
The http://www.indiantrust.com/ web alert service has been restored. We regret any inconvenience this has caused and have included links to significant documents that you may have missed in the past month.
On April 11, 2002 the Special Master filed his Second Investigative Report and found:
Almost three years ago, OTR Director Kenneth Rossman promised this Court an "extensive new training program" developed and taught by records specialists with expertise in "trust programs." Unfortunately, this representation stands in a long line of broken promises. OTR has produced training curricula that do not address the most rudimentary aspects of trust recordkeeping; that fail to distinguish between trust and non-trust records; and that obscure the legal and ethical obligations underlying the maintenance of trust records.
In the final analysis, OTR's curricula add to the grievous perception that trust records deserve no more special care than an agency personnel file, a payroll record or a requisition for paper clips.
On or about April 12, 2002, the Deputy Special Trustee for Policy to the Special Trustee sent a memorandum to the Special Trustee and noted that: "The DOI has no awareness of its fiduciary responsibility either on a legal or moral basis. Decisions are not based on what is best for the beneficiary but what best serves DOI and its decision makers." And, "The economic and monetary values of the old and probably present records are of little or no value for determining an accurate balances in the IIM and probably the tribal accounts. The reason for this is the database is plagued by missing records, unreliable information, severe security deficiencies and unverifiable audit trails." The Deputy Special Trustee for Policy stated further, "There should be no further funds wasted in trying to reconstruct the financial past. The data base is not credible for a proper fiduciary accounting. The Department should acknowledge that as a general statement there is no way to credibly reconstruct the accounts with existing records. The fact that
a plan may be produced that will give results that can be used for evidentiary purposes in Trial II does not mean that it is a satisfactory accounting for fiduciary purposes."
On April 17, 2002, the Special Master filed an Emergency Report regarding the proposed relocation of individual Indian trust records. He found:
It is the view of the Special Master that the Office of the Special Trustee is uniquely unqualified to handle its trust records responsibilities - a program it repeatedly characterizes as "essential to providing accurate and reliable information to account holders." FY 2001 Program Formulation Process Initial Draft Report, Office of the Special Trustee for Native American Indians at 5. OST is prepared to embark on an irreversible course of action without conferring with agency and area offices, without generating plans, without drafting timetables, without allocating resources, without training staff in the proper handling of trust records, without implementing written procedures and without providing for the uninterrupted access to the trust data. It is prepared to dispense with the services of the few research employees capable of responding to the daily inquiries of IIM beneficiaries while it was about to send these records to archival centers that neither perform these vital functions nor, by charter, are designed to accept act
ive trust records. And it is the view of the Special Master that the Office of the Special Trustee's rush to complete this transfer is motivated by a desire to cover up its present inability to properly administer the trust records program.
In that sense, the Office of the Special Trustee was correct when it noted that the proposed records transfer "was in the best interest of the organization." It is surely not "in the best interest" of the beneficiaries.
This reckless attitude is yet another benchmark of an organization that leaves the position of Director unencumbered since November and installs an Acting Director who governs in absentia and makes only weekly supervisory pilgrimages. It is the position of the Special Master that the Office of the Special Trustee is incapable of administering the trust records program without oversight. The Special Master recommends that the Court take action in this regard. The very heart of the trust is at stake.
On April 18, 2002 the Court entered a Temporary Restraining Order preventing the transfer or relocation of any trust records.
On April 23, 2002 the General Accounting Office confirmed that Secretary Norton committed another fraud on the Court by colluding with Justice and Treasury attorneys to file false motions with Court requesting relief from their fiduciary accounting obligations prior to 1952.
On May 2, 2002 the Court Monitor filed his Seventh Report and found that the Secretary, in conjunction with her Justice counsel and Solicitors, sought to obstruct the Special Trustee and halt trust reform.
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