The Attorney General of Alabama, Luther Strange wrote a letter to Ken Feinberg about his concerns with the GCCF and the payment of claims, highlighting many of the problems with the process that have been highlighted here and on several other websites.
Among his concerns:
1. Of all the claims reportedly paid, 98.9 % are the quick pay claims, claims that require no processing and of course require all recipients to waive their and their families rights to sue British Petroleum and a hundred other companies.
2. The average final payment accepted by claimants in Alabama is $12,000 dollars. With all the uncertainty in the Gulf’s recovery, the idea that $12,000 dollars will cover any and all damages is laughable at best.
3. Though Feinberg continually speaks of fraud and lack of documentation, in Alabama only 14.6% of claims required further documentation. The rest were turned down for other reasons, reasons that are not often revealed.
4. Why is it the GCCF now omits from its news releases the number of EAP claims which were turned down? This omission is only one of many example showing transparency continues to be an issue.
5. Although the GCCF seems to enjoy trumpeting the amount of money paid, $3.5 billion dollars, why is they refuse to release the total damage amounts people have claimed, surely billions more than has been paid. The GCCF will not give the complete picture, negating any attempt for people to properly evaluate the success or failure of the GCCF and its process.
Strange goes on to discuss how the GCCF’s botching of the claims process is having a detrimental effect on the mental health of Alabama’s citizens…their mental welfare being strained by frustration and uncertainty with the claims process, the demoralization of being reduced to begging Feinberg for money, the frustration that comes with claims being continually rejected and the realization that this ugly reality created by Feinberg and the GCCF will not be solved in the foreseeable future.
All, while so many lives are slipping into financial ruin, caused by no fault of their own.
Meanwhile, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood recently announced he will be touring the Coast later this month to hear comments from claimants in the BP oil catastraphuk. The gatherings will be held in conjunction with the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Mississippi Center for Legal Services, and the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyer’s Project.
“It is important to me to hear directly from the claimants what they have been experiencing in this process,” Hood said when announcing the meetings. The Attorney General has filed briefs in the oil spill litigation, asking for court-appointed monitors to move the $20 billion BP claims process along with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which is handling victim claims.
It is a positive that these two men are speaking out, and listening. This situation in the Gulf continues to be untenable.
It’s been almost a year since the Deepwater Horizon exploded, and seven months since Feinberg took over the claims process from British Petroleum and it is unconscionable that people continue to wait for payments…not hand-outs, but compensation from the company who spilled this oil across their lives. Feinberg does his interviews and issues his press releases, yet gives only part of the story, the side of the numbers that sound okay, while burying the rest behind a wall of secrecy. This, while he continues to promise transparency yet time after time delivers little to nothing.
Meanwhile, at the White House, Barack Obama still says nothing…proving that he is just one more president who came down to the Gulf Coast and after giving his speech, took his generators home, leaving the coast in the darkness created by unknowns.
At least Strange and Hood are willing to speak up, make some noise about the travesty that is the GCCF and the ego run wild that is Ken Feinberg…
In the words of Strange, from his letter:
“Rest assured, I will do everything I can to help our victims survive this catastrophe, including holding the GCCF’s feet to the fire. Quit dragging your feet and stalling the large majority of claims to a point where victims are so desperate that they settle for anything. remember, your job is to compensate the victims – not magnify their problems by playing games with BP’s money (to BP’s benefit).”
Have a nice day.
P.S. I might only add, where the hell is James D. “Buddy” Caldwell?