DENVER (by Will C. Holden)— The controversy swirling around the distribution of the money donated to the Aurora Victim Relief Fund may be coming to an end, as renowned mediator Ken Feinberg announced a payment protocol Monday.
Feinberg announced that the families of the 12 people killed in the Aurora movie theater at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20 and those who suffered permanent brain damage or permanent paralysis as a result of the attack, will receive 70 percent of the fund’s $5 million balance.
That amounts to about $200,000 per victim or family.
The leftover 30 percent will be given to those who suffered physical injuries. The amount of relief provided will be based on the amount of days the injured party spent in the hospital.
There will be three different classifications for hospital stays, according to the governor’s office, which released the statement: victims hospitalized for 20 days or more, victims hospitalized for 8-19 days and victims hospitalized for 1-7 days.
This plan was released after Feinberg, who arrived in Denver on Sept. 21, said he believed that victims suffering from physical injuries were entitled to the most financial compensation.
Monday is the last day to contribute to the Aurora Victim Relief fund, and you can do so by visiting the Community First Foundation’s website, GivingFirst.org.
Victims and their families are required to submit their claims on Nov. 1. Feinberg will then make final payment determinations and money will be disbursed after Nov. 15.
“We are extremely grateful to Ken Feinberg for his service to victims and their families and to the state of Colorado,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper, who appointed Feinberg special master of the relief fund. “He has proven once again why he is the nation’s leading expert in handling these kinds of matters.”
Feinberg’s skills as a mediator rose to national prominence after he was appointed by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to oversee the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund. Feinberg worked pro bono for 33 months and came up with a distribution that was universally hailed — if not universally respected — for its attention to detail.
Since his work with that recovery fund, Feinberg has also been called upon to oversee compensation funds for victims of the Virginia Tech shootings and the BP oil spill. He took no pay for either of those cases, nor for his work with the Aurora Victim Relief Fund.
The victims of the Aurora theater tragedy have yet to respond to the payment protocols, but they have been very vocal about their disappointment with the Community First Foundation, a non-profit which was also governor-appointed to handle the distribution of the biggest relief fund for Aurora theater tragedy victims.
On Oct. 9 — In the midst of Feinberg’s work — a request was filed by 24 shooting victims to the Colorado Attorney General and Secretary of State to investigate the Community First Foundation for misconduct.