HELENA — A former judge has been appointed to oversee distribution of $1.5 billion to Native Americans in a government settlement over mismanaged land-trust royalties.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan named Richard Levie as special master of the distribution now under way in the nearly 17-year-old class-action lawsuit filed by Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont.

The $3.4 billion settlement was approved by Hogan and became final last month when the Supreme Court declined to take up appeals.

Levie is a former District of Columbia judge and a mediator and arbitrator for JAMS, formerly the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services.

He will be responsible for resolving disputes over eligibility in the next round of cash distributions, estimated to be at least $800 per person.

The deadline to file a claim is March 1.

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(1) comment

Dub

Important job--anytime there is this much money is being doled out, the temptation to misplace funds are strong. Good luck!!

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