It’s good to be the king…
You might think it would be fair for any denied claimant in the Gulf Coast to be able to take their denial letter to a real person at some GCCF office and talk about it, discuss the reasoning for the denial, figure out a way to improve their claim…in other words, have some kind of a negotiation to come up with a just solution.
Nope, the best you get’s an appeal, working in the same dark from which you filed your original claim.
Because you’re not Ken Feinberg.
Your “neutral” arbitrator has his people hunkering down with British Petroleum’s people to determine how much he’ll be getting paid for the next three months. It’s a negotiation, a discussion of how much his services are worth. You know, how much staff he needs, how much they are paying for transportation costs, how much he is saving British Petroleum through controlled liability, how many PR people he has to hire after every interview, how much are the suits, the pencils, the reams of paper, the stationary for his colleagues to write letters attesting to his ethics…yeah, negotiations.
It must be good to be the king, but was $850,000 dollars a month enough?
We’ll soon find out.
Beyond his ability to have discussions about his BP payouts, there is legitimate reason to be concerned that every three months these two groups of people are going to be sitting down around polished conference tables to discuss Feinberg’s rate of pay. As mentioned above, what kind of pressure will British Petroleum be able to exert, both direct and indirect, on the GCCF to keep the payments to residents low? Would they start cutting Feinberg’s salary as a result of them getting too high? Would he get a raise if claims payouts remained low? It’s one thing to set a rate of pay through the entire process where there is no financial incentive to be realized by Feinberg, no matter how much or little he pays out. It is entirely another to renegotiate those rates every three months, especially when your rate of pay is set by the very company you are in charge of ruling for, or against on these oil spill claims.
The situation is ripe for conflict of interest.
Both sides would deny any impropriety in the arrangement I’m sure. To say it out loud, and to the press no less, would simply be gauche, but it would be naive to believe both sides don’t have such thoughts on the brain.
And that’s a problem, another large problem with this arrangement, one of many on a long list: exclusion of oil field workers harmed by moratoriums, no sue clauses, arbitrary payments, no transparency…just to name a few. But then again, these kinds of problems are only so to the residents of the Gulf Coast. The way Feinberg and BP have been operating for the past so many months, it’s quite apparent that from their financial and appointed thrones, those kinds of problems aren’t really a problem at all, certainly not to them…
…and apparently, not to Barack Obama either.
Have a nice day.