Mediator sets rules for Colorado shooting funds
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
DENVER – A mediator overseeing a dispute over donations to the 12 people killed and 58 injured in the Colorado theater shootings said Monday the majority of the $5 million in contributions will go to families of people who died and those who suffered permanent injuries.
Mediator Kenneth Feinberg said those victims will get 70 percent of the money, or about $200,000 each, based on current donations.
The remainder will go to people who suffered physical injuries, based on the number of days they were hospitalized.
“We want the money to go to eligible claimants without restriction before Thanksgiving,” Feinberg said.
Feinberg said claims for the funds are due by Nov. 1.
Due to limited funds, money will not be provided to victims who did not require overnight hospitalization or to people claiming mental trauma, he said.
Former University of Colorado-Denver graduate student James Holmes is charged in the attack during the showing of a Batman movie on July 20.
Feinberg was brought in a mediator after the families of 10 people killed and at least a dozen of those wounded called for an independent arbitrator to oversee distribution of the donations.
The families said they were frustrated by an initial plan that would have excluded them from the process of disbursing funds. They also questioned a decision to give $100,000 to nonprofit organizations instead of the families.
Rich Audsley, special adviser to the 7/20 committee appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to oversee the distribution, said the $100,000 was given to nonprofit organizations because of conditions set by the donors. He promised a full, independent audit after the money is distributed.
He said organizations will seek a government grant to pay for any mental health treatment that is needed.
Melisa Cowden, the ex-wife of Gordon Cowden, who was killed in the shootings, said her teenage children need money to get on with their lives.
“I’m happy with the fact that the money that is still there is being distributed. There will never be enough money to compensate for the loss of their dad,” she said.
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