The National Center for Victims of Crime has received 351 claim forms from survivors and families of victims of the June 12 shooting at the Pulse nightclub that killed or injured more than 100 people in Orlando, Fla. The OneOrlando Fund Board and Ken Feinberg, fund administrator, are in the process of distributing more than $26 million to the claimants.
“These are individual victims who were shot or trapped in the nightclub,” Feinberg said last month. “They are the only victims eligible under this program.”
The claims received were based on a final protocol approved by the fund board based on feedback from partners including Equality Florida, the National Center for Victims of Crime, National Compassion Fund and the city’s community – including those present at the Aug. 4 town hall meeting. The deadline for postmarked claim forms was Sept. 12.
Competing claim forms were received for some of the deceased victims, according to a release, something Feinberg predicted might happen when claims were first being accepted in August. Individuals filing competing claims or claims lacking a distribution plan and/or consent form have been notified to have such issues resolved by Sept. 26, otherwise funds will be deposited in an area probate court.
Other key steps and dates for the fund’s payout include:
* A preliminary audit review to be conducted to determine the total amount of money raised by each of the fund’s organizations. The review is expected to be completed this week;
* The board will meet prior to Sept. 27 to adopt a distribution allocation based on the final fund amount. Direct deposit and check distributions will begin on a rolling basis the same day; and,
* An independent audit is expected to begin after Oct. 15.
Equality Florida, the state’s primary LGBTQ advocacy organization, and The Center, the primary LGBTQ group in Orlando, have been among the fund’s fundraising partners. Dollars to be used for disbursements will be collected through Sept. 23. Feinberg, in August, said that the entirety of available funds will be disbursed immediately, but that future payouts might be possible should additional dollars continue to come in.
Feinberg also said at the time that he would make recommendations to the OneOrlando Fund Board, chaired by Alex Martins, president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, regarding each claim. The severity of injury and length of hospital stay will be among the factors to injury claims, he said.
Those overseeing the fund continue to work on a pro-bono basis. Feinberg has said that he works at the pleasure of the board and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and will stay on as they wish, with the expectation of leaving following the disbursement cycle.