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Lawyers warn against family squabbles as Orlando victims' fund surpasses $20 million

2016-08-05
An outpouring of grief was followed by a huge surge in generosity in the wake of the Orlando shootings, with over $2 million donated to the victims' families and survivors in the immediate aftermath. Since, the world has come together to show its support, including Democratic presidential nominee Hilary Clinton, who recently visited tributes left outside the club. However with donations now at around $23 million, the administrators of funds for those affected have warned that arguments over who receives what could be the biggest obstacle to distributing the money. According to the Associate Press, Ken Feinberg, an attorney who administered similar funds in the aftermath of the September 11th 2001 attacks, told 300 families and survivors to seek assistance legal assistance to agree how funds are divided. "We aren't going to get into family arguments about the distribution of money. Work it out," Feinberg said. "We can't get in the middle of this."
"The exact amount each family will get is to be determined by how much is raised by the end of September. The most money will go to the families who lost loved ones", Feinberg said.
Families of some victims living outside of the US, with a number having links to Puerto Rico, Mexico, Columbia and other countries in the Caribbean and Americas, may also cause be difficulties. "We're trying to be sensitive to all the difference circumstances around these cases," said Mai Fernandez, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, which is assisting in the distribution of the money. Under current proposals, recipients will be grouped into four classes - families of the deceased, such as Christine Leinonen, who gave an emotional speech in support of gun safety laws at the Democratic National Convention; survivors who were hospitalised for more than one night; those injured but not needed overnight hospital care; and unharmed patrons. One survivor, Ivory Mcneal, agreed that law enforcement verification was the best way to determine who is eligible. "Like all these people who are like, 'Oh, the police didn't get my information.' I was there that night. They pretty much kept us all together and we could not leave," Mcneal said. "I don't know what all these people are saying they didn't speak to the police." Payments are due to begin being released in late September. Meanwhile, the future of Pulse Nightclub remains unclear - however plans for a permanent memorial were recently submitted to the state for consideration. You can read our special feature on Orlando and its aftermath in the new issue of Attitude, in shops now and available to download now from pocketmags.com/attitude. Print copies are available to order from newsstand.co.uk. ORLANDO COVER Also in Attitude’s August issue, alongside all your usual news, reviews, fitness & travel:
  • 20 years of Girl Power: Spice Girl Emma Bunton recalls the highs and lows of life as part of the world’s most famous girl groups ever.
  • Three years before Stonewall… there was the riot at Compton’s cafeteria in San Francisco. Attitude commemorates 50 years since the queer community fought back against an oppressive police force.
  • Pop’s new sensation Shura on why she doesn’t want to be compartmentalised as a queer artist.
  • Out gay Iraqi activist Amir Ashour on why he’ll never stop fighting for LGBT liberation in his homeland.
  • Willam reveals why he has no love for RuPaul’s Drag Race.
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