Bombing fund official describes difficult task

AP Photo/Boston Herald, Angela Rowlings, Pool

Wayne Gilchrist spoke about injuries he sustained during the Boston Marathon bombings at a town hall meeting held to discuss compensation plans for the One Fund Boston.

By Evan Allen Globe Correspondent 

Kenneth R. Feinberg, administrator of the One Fund Boston, described the task of distributing money to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing as “a horrible undertaking” Tuesday during the second town hall meeting to discuss compensation plans.

He said he has never seen a tragedy with more grievous physical injuries than the Marathon bombings, including the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.


“It raises questions that I believe would defy Solomon in getting answers,” said Feinberg, who has administered the funds for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and in Aurora, Colo.

About 40 people, some on crutches, attended the meeting Tuesday morning.

A draft protocol for distributing money calls for dispensing assistance based on the severity of injury. There are three tiered classes of eligible victims listed in the protocol: Those who were killed or suffered double amputations; those who suffered a single amputation; and those who were physically injured and hospitalized overnight due to physical injuries suffered in the blast.

At the town hall, Feinberg mulled the gray zones: whether and how to compensate people with emotional trauma, whether and how to consider victims’ financial status, whether and how to compensate people who only needed outpatient treatment.

And how to do it all quickly: Feinberg said he expects to have a final version of the protocol finished next week, and the first wave of payments made by June 30.


“If there is one instruction I’ve received from the mayor and the governor: ‘Ken, get the money out and get it out fast. People in grief need this compensation,’ ” he said. “And that’s what we hope to do. And that’s what we plan to do.”

Feinberg said he wanted to publicly dampen any hopes that victims or their families might harbor that the money will solve their problems.

“There’s not enough money here to pay everybody,” Feinberg said. “When you look at the horror that happened here in Boston – the horror, the number of deaths, the number of horrible physical injuries, the number of people still in the hospital today, I assure you based on everything I’ve done in the past, including 9/11, there isn’t enough money to pay everybody who justifiably expects it or needs it. There’s not enough money.”

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