In an effort to distribute donations to victims of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse as soon as possible, the State Fair Commission announced Wednesday the creation of a new relief fund and the hiring of an outside consultant.
State Fair Commission Chair Andre Lacy says distributing private contributions through a non-profit organization – like the Central Indiana Community Foundation, which created the Remembrance Fund– is proving difficult.
The state is not subject to many of the same hurdles. As a result, Governor Mitch Daniels established the State Fair Relief Fund through which the donations will be given out to the victims. Lacy says the new setup will not have an effect on the lawsuits filed against the state by victims of the collapse.
“This is quite separate and apart from anything that relates to tort claims,” Lacy said. “So there is an absolute Chinese wall between those two.”
The State Fair Commission is also bringing in victims’ compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg to help with the distribution, which on Wednesday totaled $263,000. Feinberg, who worked with the 9/11, Virginia Tech shooting and BP oil spill compensation funds, will also be assisting with the various lawsuits against the state surrounding the tragedy. He is working on both the lawsuits and the donation distribution on a pro bono basis.