Letter of March 19, 1981

HILL & HANSEN
A Law Corporation
722 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, California 94111

March 19, 1981

George Donald Beck, Jr.
320 Glen Park Ave.
San Rafael, CA 94901

    Re: Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ v. Attorney General of the State of California

Dear Mr. Beck:

This is a status report on your claim against the Peoples Temple. You have previously been informed of the amount of settlement that the Temple has offered you. Also, you have agreed to except that amount of settlement. As you recall, however, there were probably not be enough money to pay all the settlements in full. The settlements will be paid prorata [pro rata] depending upon the amount of money available to pay the claims. At present the total compromise offers extended on claims amounts to approximately 8.1 million dollars, and there is approximately 6 million dollars to pay the claims. In other words, if the claims were all paid now, everyone would get almost 75 cents on the dollar.

But, there are some contingencies. First, the Federal Government has a pending claim for several million dollars for the expense incurred previously in flying the deceaseds back to the United States. The Federal Government and the receiver had agreed to sell that claim for 2.2 million dollars. The Court did not approve that settlement because the judge felt that was too much to pay the Federal Government. The case by the Federal Government against the receiver is set for trial in the Federal Court in May of this year. Hopefully, a settlement for less than 2.2 million dollars can be reached at or before that time. We have indicated to the receiver that we would not oppose a settlement, as long as it did not exceed 1 million dollars.

The other major contingency includes the claims by the persons who did not accept offers that were made to them or to whom offers were not made. Most of the people to whom offers were not made and who are contesting the receivor’s [receiver’s] recommendations are persons who claim to have made donations or who claim to have life care contracts with Peoples Temple. Also, some wrongful death offers have not been accepted. Those planes will have to be heard by a commissioner and be passed on by the judge.

It presently appears that it will take approximately a year to dispose of all the remaining claims against the assets by the persons described above. Although I cannot be sure, I feel that the remaining claims will not substantially diminish the assets of the receivor. Most of these people will have to prove things that they have not been able to prove up to this date. After a decision on all those claims, there is the possibility that some of the claimanats [claimants] may take an appeal from the decision of the Court. An appeal could take from one to two years. Fortunately, all this is going by, the receivor has invested the money in certificates of deposit and is earning from 12% to 20% on the funds, depending on the date of deposit. On the other hand, the fees for the receivor and his attorneys keep on running. It appears that the attorneys’ fees are running somewhat less than the earned interest, so that the assets available for distribution remain fairly constant. Actually, the receiver is still recovering funds from various sources, such that the funds available so far have continued to gradually increase.

There probably will not be anything of any importance to report for approximately a year, since we will be simply waiting for the determination on the claims made by those who did not receive an offer, or who are contesting the amount of the offer. The best thing for you to do at this time is to put this matter out of your mind, since there’s nothing you can do about it for a year. However, if you change your name or dress, please keep us informed. We sure want to be able to find you when we are finally able to disburse funds to you.

All Best Wishes,
[signed] John E. Hill
JOHN E. HILL

Originally posted on May 24th, 2013.

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