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Victims compensation expert takes over Aurora theater shooting donation fund

DENVER — A man nationally-recognized for handling relief funds in disasters and tragedies across the country visited Colorado Friday and met with Governor John Hickenlooper and the managers of the fund for Aurora theater victims.

Kenneth Feinberg announced he will help with the fund for theater shooting victims.

The victims have become increasingly upset about the way the nonprofit group Community First has handled the approximately $5 million donated to help the victims.

More than a week ago, FOX31 Denver contacted Kenneth Feinberg about the controversy, and he said at that time he would be happy to help with distribution of the money, at no charge.

Under growing pressure, Governor John Hickenlooper met with Feinberg in Denver Friday and announced the expert would be taking over the Aurora victims’ relief fund.

Families of the victims have made their distrust known of the organization handling the fund. “We wanted a collaborative, transparent process,” Tom Teves, a father of a victim and spokesman for families, says. “Instead we’ve been met with double-speak, bureaucrats and lawyers.”

Victim compensation expert Ken Feinberg has distributed billions of dollars to victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Virginia Tech University mass shooting and 9/11.

Feinberg said during a news conference at the Capitol Friday his goal will be to distribute the money directly to the victims, no restrictions, ASAP. “This isn’t rocket science,” Feinberg says. “This is trying to take a limited pot of money, distribute it as soon as you can, as quickly as you can to eligible people in sore need of these funds.”

Teves and other victims hope that’s what actually happens, so they can move on with their lives.

They say this appointment of an independent arbitrator is exactly what they’ve been pushing for.