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11 parties make claims to $1-million Christopher Dorner reward

April 24, 2013|By Joseph Serna
  • An image from a surveillance video taken Jan. 28 and released by the Irvine Police Department shows former LAPD officer Christopher Jordan Dorner, who killed a couple in that city and two law enforcement officials. Dorner died after barricading himself in a cabin near Big Bear after a massive manhunt.
An image from a surveillance video taken Jan. 28 and released by the Irvine… (Irvine Police Department…)

Eleven parties have submitted claims to the $1-million reward offered in the Christopher Dorner case under revised guidelines to allocate the money, LAPD officials say.

Friday was the deadline for people to file claims for a portion of the reward, which has been reduced as contributing agencies have backed out and others have sued to receive some of the money.

On Tuesday, the city of Los Angeles reached a $4.2-million settlement with two women shot during the Dorner. The City Council must still approve it.

FULL COVERAGE: Sweeping manhunt for ex-cop

A department spokesman said the reward’s claimants will not be identified until after a final decision has been made on how the money will be allocated, per the LAPD’s revised guidelines for the money.

The department announced its new guidelines for the reward this month. Among the changes, three retired judges will determine who gets the $1 million.

The reward — a collection of smaller donations from numerous agencies, groups and individuals — was initially offered for Dorner's "capture and conviction."

However, that's "irrelevant" under the new criteria because Dorner, a former LAPD officer who killed four, was chased into a cabin near Big Bear, where he eventually shot himself.

Overshadowing the matter are two claims that have been made on the reward since Dorner's death Feb. 12 — by a couple who were tied up and whose car was stolen by Dorner, and by a man whose pickup truck Dorner later hijacked.

Those looking for a payout may still have to meet the criteria of individual donors, according to an outline of the reward procedures.

Donors can recommend what portion of the money claimants should receive, if any. Law enforcement officials can rank the help they received from the claimants as "vital, helpful but not essential, or of no value" to finding Dorner.

The money will be put in a trust fund operated by the Los Angeles-based Richards, Watson and Gershon law firm. The recipients will be publicly announced and forfeit their chance to appeal the judges' decision when they apply for the money.

Any money that's not awarded will be returned, pro-rated, to the contributing agencies.

Others among the roughly 25-member donor group have been considering whether to follow the Peace Officers Research Assn. of California, as well as the city of Riverside, in withdrawing their pledges.

Most notably, the head of the L.A. Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file officers with the Los Angeles Police Department, said his group is weighing its options.

"As of this morning, there is $1 million available in the reward fund, and we are pretty confident that it will stay at a million dollars," LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said.

He noted there is no legal commitment regarding those who pledged money but later decided to withdraw it.

Claimants who do not file formal submissions will be ineligible for the reward, regardless of their importance in the Dorner manhunt.

"This is an extraordinary circumstance and unlike any other reward in the history of Los Angeles," Neiman said. "It necessitated the creation of a formalized submission-of-reward-claims process."

"Any person who wishes to be considered for a reward must submit their claim in writing," he added.

The $1-million reward was created and operates separately from official city of Los Angeles business, an official said.

"At this time, that $1-million reward is operating outside the guidelines set forth in the city charter," William W. Carter, L.A.'s chief deputy city attorney, said in an interview, "and that is because it's beyond the $100,000 limit set for the city."

"The city's potential liability is for $100,000," he added.

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