So how was your New Year’s Eve?
For Ken Feinberg it was a splendid night at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House where he rubbed shoulders with wealth and celebrity, including Natalie Portman, J Christopher Flowers, Donald Tober and Eric Bogosian. The opera, Verdi’s “La Traviata” was reportedly a tremendous success and enjoyed by all.
Dan Ford, owner of Gulf Coast Tire and Automotive received notification that his claim was denied. Initially, he received $5000 dollars from BP for the months of June, July and August but when Feinberg took over the claims process, Ward stopped receiving payments. He went to his local claims office eight times over a three month period and was told each time his check would be ready within a week, until December 10th when he got a letter in the mail stating his claim had been denied.
“The frustrating part about it is they won’t give you any information,” Ward said. “They won’t tell you who is handling your claim. You can’t talk to a live individual. They just kept me in limbo for three months, total, and finally they said my claim was denied. I want to know why the claim was denied. Everything I gave them was actual financial data,” he added. “It was backed by our sales taxes. It was backed by our profit and loss statements…I’m a viable business. I’m 100 percent as far as that goes.”
Ward has continued trying to get a response, but all he’s received since is a form letter stating he could refile for an interim payment or a final payment. “I’m just wondering ‘what in the hell? Am I in the Twilight Zone?’ ” he said. “I’m just dumbfounded. I’ve got it all down on paper, my losses. I’ve got it to the penny.”
Plaintiff lawyers in a multi-district litigation have filed a motion urging US District Judge Carl Barbier to supervise public comments made by Feinberg, the neutral arbitrator, seeking “to ensure that communications with putative classmembers[sic] are neither confusing nor misleading…by all appearances,” the motion states, “Mr. Feinberg … seems indistinguishable from a defense attorney attempting to settle cases on behalf of BP.”
The mayor of Orange Beach, Alabama, Anthony Kennon still has questions about how closely Feinberg and BP may be linked, “He can proclaim independence as much as he wants,” said Kennon, whose community was hard hit by the oil spill. “The only thing that will show true independence is if he makes those people whole who were harmed by the oil spill. We have not been made whole by a long shot.”
Now, whereas typically I would not try to piss on somebody’s good time, especially not on New Year’s Eve, but when the entire claims process Feinberg is being paid $850,000 dollars a month to oversee has become such a catastraphuk of mis-communication, denied claims, paltry payouts and a general lack of transparency in all things involved, and this has in turn left people across the Gulf Coast going bankrupt, losing businesses, homes and intact families…well hell, even I might be inclined to question the sensitivity of a splendid night at the opera, nicely splashed across the society pages of the New York newspapers.
At the very least, maybe he could have invited Mr. Ford along to La Traviata, so during the intermission he could have explained why the GCCF denied his claim, especially when considering for the months of June, July and August, BP said yes.
And along those same lines…is Obama still enjoying his vacation in Hawaii?
Have a nice day.