23 September 2010

Is BP Fund Czar Feinberg in BPs Pocket?

The lies and promises unfulfilled keep coming from BP and Feinberg, the BP Fund Claims Czar.

From Denny: Something is terribly fishy here with Kenneth Feinberg. One minute he promises to make the Gulf Coast whole after the BP Oil Spill disaster and the next he is denying legitimate claims all over the place. Ridiculous conditions for receiving payments shift and change with the tides.

BP continues to run insulting ads claiming how great they are, how much they have spent on "clean up" and what great care they are taking for the residents on the Gulf Coast. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

BP and Feinberg have been playing games with the claimants for five months now. BP thinks because they threw in an American as CEO to sell the same stink it would work. Right now Louisiana is so fed up with British Petroleum that we say, "Go home across The Pond and take your lying idiot American CEO with you!"

The latest insult is BP deducting what they have already paid for clean up from the $5 billion they are supposed to pay out this year to Gulf Coast residents. BP has devastated the Louisiana seafood industry to the tune of being off by 70 percent.

Then the oil moratorium had a ripple effect throughout the state while the President tries to get BP and other oil companies to actually get safety inspections. All the state's economy has been down dramatically since April and this moratorium continues to keep a choke hold on the local economy. Home foreclosures are exceptionally high now in south Louisiana because of this two-fist punch: the oil spill and now the oil moratorium that sees no end in sight.

To date Feinberg and BP have really been playing a waiting game to see if they can delay payments long enough that the small businesses and individuals declare bankruptcy, falling off their books of claims. Talk about a Vulture Culture attitude.

When the storm of criticism gets too loud to ignore, suddenly Feinberg acts like he's going to suddenly do the right thing - and then it's business as usual. He ends up insulting the claimants by giving them 10 percent of what they are owed.

Here we go again with the promises from Feinberg that never happen: "Over the past few weeks, I have heard from the people of the Gulf, elected officials, and others that payments remain too slow and not generous enough. I am implementing new procedures that will make this program more efficient, more accelerated and more generous."

Feinberg claims he is just now getting around to sorting the claims by industry? "Claims from now on also will be sorted by industry to allow those reviewing the claims to apply a more specific, uniform set of standards when deciding how much a person or business will be paid." And why did he not do that months ago? "Claims still will be reviewed individually but they will be clustered so they are easier to compare," he said.

To date Feinberg and BP claim they have paid out $400 million to 30,000 claimants. Show me the books. Let's see some transparency here. I guarantee you will find plenty of examples of $500,000 claims where they only paid out a mere $5,000.

Feinberg keeps throwing up obstacles. First it's the documentation to prove a claim is legitimate. People comply. One guy complied with 1,500 pages of documentation. So, Feinberg said that was too much documentation and so his claim was denied. It's a sick joke how they are treating these people.

Another outrageous condition was that only if you live within one mile of the shore and work on the water for a living will you be eligible for a claim. Clearly, Feinberg over promised and is not serving the President well at all. His promises keep changing, his conditions keep shifting and the claims keep getting denied.

The latest insult of new conditions was that wages earned by spill cleanup workers would be subtracted from their claims of lost revenue. Now, after the furor, Feinberg is publicly claiming he will waive that condition. What happens when the news crews go home? What will happen in private? More new conditions?

When I say that something smells fishy here it's because it does. BP has a habit of bribing people with promises of throwing business their way after the situation subsides. Feinberg sure changed his tune quickly once he started interacting a lot with BP. He can claim all he wants that he has not been turned by the glitter of the huge money from the multi-national giant but it sure looks like he has fallen into the integrity abyss.

Mr. President, you would do well to hire someone like Mike Papantonio, a liberal talk show host in Texas who is also a lawyer. This man has taken BP to court numerous times and knows how they roll in the business world. Papantonio might be a wise idea to look over the should of Feinberg to keep him and his firm honest. Otherwise, you will continue to hear howling from the Gulf Coast for years to come. Wouldn't it be easier to either replace Feinberg - or have someone else checking on him?

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