December 15th is looking to be a disappointingly memorable day for citizens of the Gulf Coast. This is the deadline when all emergency claims to BP’s $20 billion fund must be processed and since August 23rd when Kenneth Feinberg took over the fund from British Petroleum, he has denied 173,000 claims including 100,000 in the past seven days alone.
“The number of denied claimants continues to soar for two reasons,” Feinberg said in an e-mail Monday. “1) Thousands and thousands of claimants, who were asked over the past few months to submit additional documentation have not done so; so they are now being denied. 2) Claimants who filed in the past few weeks with insufficient documentation have automatically been denied.”
This is an excuse to give Feinberg cover.
He has been in charge of the claims fund for over three months and it would seem reasonable to believe that Feinberg knew of documentation problems early on. When you take into account that the average amount of fraudulent claims in any national disaster have been about ten percent, and in the Gulf there have been 455,000 claims, this would indicate that only about 45,000 of these claims should be considered fraudulent. When Feinberg denies 173,000, or 40% of the claims, this strongly indicates that thousands upon thousands of people being hurt by this oil spill are not being compensated. Even worse, this simple math doesn’t take into account all of the people who feel they have been shortchanged, getting pennies on the dollar for their losses.
According to my math, 120,000 legitimate claims are being denied and that is simply, wrong. That’s 120,000 families, businesses and individuals and that is a lot of people, too many. I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe there is nothing Feinberg could have done, or could do now to help. Sure, by the letter of the law, he is doing what is legally permissible, but by any kind of moral law, he is a dismal failure and should be removed.
120,000 legitimate claims denied, 120,000 rent payments, homes, businesses, dinner tables, families abandoned by the neutral arbitrator: it’s simply another criminal gut punch to the residents of the Gulf Coast, after British Petroleum’s oil spill slashed their jugular.
And lest we forget, any of the money Feinberg doesn’t pay out of the fund gets returned to British Petroleum, the company paying his salary.
I gotta wonder how Feinberg lives with himself. Like the Halliburton technician who wasn’t watching the pressure readings rise on the Deepwater Horizon, maybe Feinberg is just out smoking cigarettes while the claims are being denied and needy families are sent home.
Perhaps it’s time to get back in your office, Ken. Unless something is done to “make things right,” this situation is just as likely to explode.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.