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Colorado massacre: Kenneth Feinberg may help disperse victim funds

September 21, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • Attorney Ken Feinberg delivers a lecture at the Pepperdine Law School on Nov. 14, 2011. Feinberg has assisted in compensation for the victims of the Gulf oil spill, 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
Attorney Ken Feinberg delivers a lecture at the Pepperdine Law School on… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw victim compensation funds after the Virginia Tech shootings, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and to those connected to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is being asked to become involved in the money collected after a shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. The shooting prompted more than $5 million in donations.

Feinberg, who was hired this week to deal with compensation claims stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal at Penn State, will meet on Friday with Colorado state and charity officials to discuss a role in resolving disputes, it was reported by a variety of media outlets.

On July 20, a gunman walked into the midnight showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” and opened fire. Twelve people died and 58 were wounded in the attack.

Relatives of those killed or injured in the attack have publicly expressed their frustration with the Community First Foundation, which collected $5.2 million in donations and has given $5,000 each to the families of those killed or wounded. At a Sept. 13 news conference, families called on Gov. John Hickenlooper to appoint an independent arbitrator to oversee the donations.

“Victims are paralyzed, facing multiple and painful surgeries, unable to walk, to work and pay their rent, food and medical bills,” said Tom Teves, whose son, Alex, was one of the 12 people killed. “Some have no medical insurance at all.”

An email sent to victims said that a representative of Hickenlooper's office, the 7/20 Committee and the Community First Foundation plan to meet with Feinberg on Friday.

The suspected shooter, James Holmes, appeared in court on Thursday as the prosecution ended efforts to get a look at a notebook he sent to a University of Colorado psychiatrist. Prosecutors dropped their effort, saying it was not needed because they would get to look at the notebook if Holmes pleads insanity, as his lawyers have indicated.

Prosecutors are amending the charges in the case so that Holmes will face 152 counts of murder, attempted murder and other crimes.

Earlier this week, Feinberg was hired by Penn State to help deal with compensation claims by victims of former assistant football coach Sandusky, who is awaiting sentencing on charges that he sexually abused boys. Some of the incidents took place in the shower room at the football training facilities at the university. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 9.

Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of abusing 10 boys. So far, the university is reviewing 15 potential claims, but more are possible.

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Join Michael on Google+. Email: michael.muskal@latimes.com

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