Ken Feinberg has been getting a lot of flack from people in the Gulf Coast regarding his claims process. The accusations are flying a mile a minute, some of them coming from various members of Congress, the Justice Department and the Attorneys General of Alabama and Mississippi. Apparently having had enough of this, Feinberg wrote an editorial in last Sunday’s Press Register, where he took to task his critics and specifically the various Alabama politicians, and their claims regarding his handling of the claims process…
“Both public officials have every right to their opinions but no right to distort the facts…”
Whereupon Ken begins to do precisely that.
Shall we review?
He reports the GCCF has distributed some $4 billion dollars to 200,000 individuals and businesses in the Gulf region.
He doesn’t report $16 billion dollars is remaining in the fund, nor that he has estimated he will be giving half of it back to British Petroleum when this is all said and done. He doesn’t mention getting to this point has taken over eight months…while needy families and business wait, struggling, nor does he mention that a District Court Judge has ruled he is not independent of British Petroleum, but is more of a “hybrid” entity, thus making all of his claims handling suspect…or, would you be inclined, after a doctor hits you with his car, to have that same doctor do your medical evaluation and determine if you were healthy or needed compensation and if so, how much you should get?
He reports the GCCF has not been “tight-fisted” when it comes to paying claims and cites as proof the fact that 660 people have appealed his offers to the Coast Guard who has agreed with the GCCF’s decision every time.
He doesn’t report that he wrote the rules, or methodology to determine payment of these claims, which bases the payment scheme on the Gulf being back to normal by 2013, despite the fact that Prince William Sound still isn’t back to normal as a result of the much smaller Exxon Valdez spill, even 20 years later. He doesn’t report that of the 3000 comments received during the public comment period regarding this methodology, about ten thought the methodology was good, made sense, was fair…and who knows how many of those ten were written by executives of British Petroleum. He also doesn’t report that in those appeals to the Coast Guard, they are all for claim offers under $250,000 dollars, which means the people doing the appealing maybe aren’t the most wealthy of the people involved in this process who again, are fighting against the stacked deck that is the GCCF methodology.
He continues to report the many individuals who have taken quick payments did not do so under coercion, but because they have decided the already received an adequate EAP payment or cannot document anymore damage from the spill, citing as proof there has been no groundswell of complaint from the people who have taken said payments heard by the GCCF.
He doesn’t report that, again, these people have been waiting since last August when he took over and really needed the money. Now agreed, some people go for the quick pay because they have no way to document more damage, but I would argue more people have taken the quick pay out of financial desperation, trying to pay rent one more month or clear some bills because the GCCF process is taking so damned long…intentionally? Depends on who you ask. As far as a groundswell of complaint about the quick payments…apparently Feinberg never read the public comments on his methodology because the complaints are there. He must also never read the Times Picayune, the Press Register, the New York Times or any of the comments sections on ProPublica, or this and many other blogs.
Ken, if you go out of your way to ignore the groundswell and it would appear you have, you ain’t gonna find it…
And Ken also reports on the charge of GCCF delays in making payments by saying his critics fail to mention that more than 80 percent of the 283,000 claims filed for final, interim and quick payments — including 35,753 from Alabama — have already been processed.
Processed, yes, but beyond the quick payments…
Not many at all.
Ken reports the $20 billion fund would be exhausted in a week if the GCCF paid claimants with no documentation solely because the claimant asked the GCCF: “Trust me.”
What Ken doesn’t report is due to the lack of transparency regarding these claims, “Trust me,” is precisely what Ken is asking the Gulf Coast to do, while he is being paid by British Petroleum.
Finally, Ken decides to kiss a little ass: “I join Congressman Bonner in wholeheartedly praising “Alabama’s sugar-white sandy beaches” and “world-famous seafood.”
Whereupon he decides to quickly concede the standard: “…the GCCF must be more transparent and consistent in rendering its decisions. The GCCF has been far from perfect — the inevitable result of receiving almost 1 million claims from all 50 states in less than one year of operation!”
What Ken doesn’t report while kissing a little ass is that he has been promising transparency for months to every elected official he can find, but doing very little about it. He has also promised to be more consistent for months, and isn’t, and like always, he stresses how big this job has been, huge, enormous…I mean holy shit! Who could have ever foreseen how absolutely gigantic this would be?
Which is a nice, attempted distraction from a more accurate representation:
Hey, I kind of screwed up a lot of people on this one because I didn’t accurately gauge the size of the project I decided to undertake, and rather than admit my lack of foresight, preparedness, and the fallacy of all those promises I made early on to the people of the Gulf Coast, you remember…about how fast and generous I was going to be, well I’ve just decided to keep throwing claim statistics at you while I duck out the side door, just in time for British Petroleum to give me a raise.
Now, let’s take a look at the current statistics from the GCCF website:
Total Quick Payments:
113,763 total quick pay claims filed. 109,955 claims paid. Percentage of claim paid: 96%
Total Interim Payments:
75,471 total interim claims filed. 9,112 interim claims paid. Percentage of claims paid: 12%
Total Final Claims:
105,709 total final claims filed. 21,261 final claims paid or indicated they would accept. Percentage of claims paid: 20%
So what can a reasonable person deduce from these numbers?
1. Of all the claims filed, the percentage of interim claims paid is lowest. Seeing as how the interim claims are the only claims one can accept while retaining the right to sue British Petroleum, Feinberg’s employer, this can lead a reasonable person to believe that perhaps these claims are being stalled. After all it is in British Petroleum’s interest to have those rights waived, and to get claimants into one of the categories where they don;t have to continue to pay out money.
2. Of all the claims filed, the percentage of quick pay claims paid is far, far higher than the other two types. This could certainly be because they are the easiest claims to audit, because there is no further documentation needed (although in the fine print could be a call from Guidepost Solutions, the investigative arm of the GCCF, checking you out for fraud despite the fact these claims were supposed to be paid out with no questions asked for people who previously received EAP’s). Nonetheless, at $5,000 dollars for individuals and $25,000 dollars for businesses, these claims are also the cheapest to resolve, and with a signature on a waiver, releasing your right to sue British Petroleum, resolving these claims is by far in the best interest of British Petroleum and therefore, the GCCF and Ken Feinberg.
3. When it comes to the final claims, which also requires one to waive the right to sue British Petroleum, the GCCF website states that of the 105,709 final claims filed, the GCCF has reviewed 84,767 of them, already paid 17,000 and have made offers on an additional 15,000, of which 4,000 have indicated they would accept. If only 21.000 have accepted a final payment out of over a hundred thousand claims filed, these are also moving extraordinarily slow and if they are so generous, what is the hold up for the 11,000 claimants who have received final offers and not as yet accepted?
4. It is this writer’s opinion that claimants are being stalled into filing quick payments as they are the only ones being paid with any sense of urgency. As people grow increasingly desperate, financially in the Gulf, the quick payment becomes increasingly attractive, like buying the rent-a-wreck because its your only way to work, and your running late. In the end, these payments have a far higher chance of leaving a claimant financially screwed.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the statistics from the GCCF website regarding the amounts of the claims paid out.
Everybody knows the quick payment, which is $5,000 dollars for individuals and $25,000 dollars for businesses. The interim payments made average out to $6700 dollars for an individual and $28,000 for businesses. The final payments accepted average out to $9200 dollars for individuals and $55,000 for businesses.
Keeping in mind that for the vast majority of these claims, this is meant to cover all damages from the spill in their entirety.
A year after the oil spilled, some industries are beginning their recovery, yet there is a deep skepticism on the safety of the seafood across the country and many, many people remain out of work or have been forced to leave the Gulf Coast to look for work elsewhere…all the while there are increasing sicknesses occurring that many are blaming on the toxicity of the oil and dispersants. The health of the Gulf is still very much in doubt, as is the sustainability of the sea life living there.
So, in a nutshell, what Feinberg calls generous…I call getting screwed. It would appear to me the only person British Petroleum is being generous to in the Gulf Coast is Ken Feinberg.
Nonetheless, Feinberg writes:
At the end of the day, neither Jo Bonner, Luther Strange nor Kenneth Feinberg will determine the ultimate “legacy” of the GCCF. That is a decision that will be made by the citizens of Alabama and those residing throughout the Gulf.
Ken can write whatever he likes in his editorial, glossing over certain facts and figures available on his website, but It would appear to me BP and Ken Feinberg are doing their best to write this legacy.
And from what I can tell, that legacy is awful.
Have a nice day.
10 thoughts on “The GCCF Statistics…What Ken’s editorial doesn’t report…”
My business interim claim was updated (when I check the GCCF website) from “received” to “under review” about 3 weeks ago. I started calling daily (Ohio office) always to be told that no determination has been made and no requests for more documentation have been sent. Always, just under review. Of course I am past the 90 days of filing.
Yesterday afternoon, to my surprise, my local GCCF office called me. A woman told me that she was with the GCCF “Small Business Team” and was calling to ask for more documentation so they could proceed with my claim. 3 things in total were needed, 2 of which the local reps. told me I didn’t need to submit when I originally filed the interim at their office. The 3rd was my 2010 tax return which they originally said they didn’t need for the 1st interim claim. My accountant didn’t have it ready until April or I would have submitted it anyway then. They said that was ok and don’t worry about it until I file 2011 interims.
So anyway I stopped what I was doing and gave them what they requested within 2 hours. I will not have GCCF put the blame on me for not processing the claim in a timely fashion, which has now passed anyway. I explained to the Small Business Team rep that I have been calling the Ohio office daily and was never asked to submit anything else.
I was told the Small Business Team was created about 3 weeks ago to help get claims processed quicker. I have not heard of anyone else with business claims mention this team. Meanwhile, my friend whose business claim was processed quickly, but found to have had “no loss” by using made up numbers is still in dispute review.
If anyone reading this has a claim, please post the status. I would love to hear that SOMEONE has been paid!
Well written! The GCCF claims it “processed” 82% of all claims. Let him do the definition of “processed”. According to what I was told by the GCCF my file has been processed since Feb. – that means opened, looked at and filed for review. We filed in October and filed for final claim in January. The – once again – 90 days are over and the GCCF refuses to give me details about my claim which is a simple individual claim for $2400 that has been review SIX times already. Lets not forget to mention the massive amount of documentation the GCCF requested from me: THREE photo ID’s, every single W2 AND every single paystub AND the complete tax return from 2010 as well as complete tax returns from 2008 and 2009. I submitted over 300 scanned pages. I did my work and homework and got not a penny in return.
To Whom it may concern,
I am a Real Estate Developer with a stalled development in Grand Isle, Louisiana due to the oil spill. The GCCF(Gulf Coast Claims Facility) and Mr. Ken Feinberg have denied my claims and I have not recieved 1 cent since filing 1st week of Sept. 2010. They are making policy as they go along and the world needs to hear this story. I am a very well respected contractor and developer in the state of Louisiana. For the last 5 years prior to 2010 I had a 6 figure income. This year (2010)my federal return shows a negative income. Please let me tell my story so many people that are getting denied by the Feinberg group will have their voices heard, because this was not our fault and we assumed the GCCF would be non biased and fair in their judgments.
Like Katrina there are people in need who arent getting money because the accountants and paymasters have to weed through a huge stack of claims that really shouldnt be there. ..As for all those who are making claims on their property being devalued. He said he had reviewed all of the claims and that most lacked documentation to process them I sent my claim in via email tracked the delivery of the claim from the date it was sent delivered and it has NOT BEEN OPENED TO DATE.
this is bs ive been waiting 23 days for my gccf payment to arrive in mail
we got our checks the 9th finaly it took 25 days my sister inlaws check took 20 something days later too why is it taking so long
I was one of the top yacht brokers in the panhandle. Annual growth of 35% to 65% annually. While yacht sales are up nationally ours are down 85% over 1st quarter of 2010. BP/Ken says that this is due to the poor economy. What they are doing to people and business here on the Gulf Coast is criminal. Why isnt THIS on FOX or CNN? The news loves to talk about negatives like the spill but doesn’t seem to care about the actual people or the families they have impacted.
Because of such complaints, Attorney General Eric Holder asked Feinberg to hire an independent auditor to review the claims process. Feinberg agreed, and he told FOX 8 that he fully supports the hire.
I have not seen anyone comment on this, it is in an article from foxlive8.com. If this is true and not a typo we are in real trouble when our government is so corrupt as to ask Feinberg to hire his own auditor.
I am Fed up with the GCCF and Administrator Ken Feinberg. Our estimated loss for 2010 not including any 2011 is $579,000. I am the owner and intellectual Property rights holder of a Beach sport with a video game in development in India & a manufacturing partnership in China. We are close to being considered a domestic athletic activity and domestic product with the ability to forego import duties since we have a China & Indian business relationship. We will then be able to export our event services and augmented reality technology to Asia thus offering employment to dozens within the Tampa Bay area of Florida. I filed my first claim with BP seventeen months ago. I have been given the run around like the rest of claim holders and it is amazing that Ken Feinberg still can change the game whenever he feels like it. One glaring contradiction that Ken Feinberg was forced by a Federal judge to admit to, (over his objection) was the fact that he is and always has been a Lawyer representing BP. In essence it took a Federal Judge’s order to force Mr. Feinberg to tell the TRUTH!
As you quoted above and attributed to the Feinberg editorial.
“Both public officials have every right to their opinions but no right to distort the facts…”
Yes that is true, the truth has been distorted far enough by the rainbow and lollipop declaration of the health of the Gulf Coast and the waters therein, by Feinberg and the experts paid to write opinions for BP. I guess it is similar to the favor a NYU Law School professor did for Feinberg at the tune of $20,000.00 paid to pen a letter exhorting the character of Ken Feinberg even as he continued to misrepresent the truth to the National and world media as to his true reason for stalling the claims process to assist his employer BP, and injure all BP OIL Spill victims.
If the simple misrepresentation of the true nature of the relationship were the worst thing Mr. Feinberg committed against innocent claim holders, that in itself would warrant judicial intervention. However, Ken Feinberg did not stop there he conspired and organized events to sabotage claimants rights to access vital information during the all important EAP period when we all were suffering business profit loss.
Before I get to the facts of the Felonious violation of Federal Law committed by the GCCF Administrator and his DC Law Firm let me ask each and everyone here a question.
Knowing what we know now regarding the true relationship of BP and the GCCF administrator do you feel you are being treated with fairness, and in a transparent manner? What do you believe would be done with your claim if there were false or misleading evidence presented as an attempt to collect as a legitimate claim?
I imagine you would be serving time in a state of federal facility, and rightfully so.
Now, what if you were told lies about the access to information vital to your successful attempts in obtaining fair compensation from the loss revenue caused by the BP oil spill affecting your beach located business?
I’m not talking about lawyer speak or rewording and answer so it would appear it was answered correctly, I am talking about a bold face lie offered via the US Phone system, Internet, and US Postal service by the GCCF & Administrator Ken Feinberg in order to deceive claim holders and keeping us from accessing vital information during the EAP period. Normally called Federal Wire Fraud is done by a group in order to injure and seek benefit. Claim Holders were injured and the benefit they obtained was the weakening of claimants ability to gain proper EAP payments. So I guess it was actually organized Wire Fraud and subject to the Rico Laws.
In October 2010, the GCCF allowed claim holders to access state and regional program status information through a set of PDF files that they updated daily and allowed claim holders like me and you to download and check our information against what was present in the status reports. Many claim holder found and attempted to correct GCCF generated mistakes in attempts to gain emergency advanced payments. It was useful, sought after information and played a vital role in recovery during that period.
One day when claim holders went to the GCCF to download the latest status reports the PDF files were unavailable and a temporary page stating the documents would be made available as soon as possible replaced the original URL addresses. After two days of this available soon message I like many other Claim Holders called the GCCF for information on my claim and the missing Program Status Reports. As was the case the GCCF telephone representative read the message from the webpage. I assured er that I was able to read the material myself, but could she please check with the supervisor in charged of the IT department and the delivery of the files. After several minutes she responded that the IT department had told her supervisor that the files were damaged and she had no timeline for the repair and accessibility for the Program Status files. I did ask her what my claim status was and was told it was in the 3rd tier which involved calculating and analyzing for payment.
Having grown tired of the constant runaround and stalling tactics I did not trust the word of the GCCF supervisor or the IT department who was in charge of the GCCF Program Status reports. I mean lets face it folks, the Adobe Acrobat PDF file format is the most reliable document delivery format in the world and it would not take days to repair the files.
What I was being told, just did not make sense. So a few hours after speaking to the GCCF I decided to put their truth to the test. Instead of accessing the files through the current available links on the GCCF website, I simply cut and pasted the original url for each file and was not surprised to see updated Program Status files available. That observation told me that the system was now stacked against anyone seeking fair treatment by the GCCF. I waited several hours before I attempted to download the files through the GCCF website links. Instead of the updated files I had downloaded I was now linked back to the files will be available soon page. My worst fears were not realized just yet. In an attempt to get the truth I called GCCF Administrator Ken Feinberg’s DC Law Firm inquiring about the availability of the GCCf Program Status file access. As with the GCCF phone representative earlier in the day he told me the files are damaged and are not available. I was offered lies from the GCCF phone center to the halls of Feinberg & Rozen Law Firm in Washington DC. I thanked the FR Law Firm representative for his help and asked if he would like an updated GCCf Program Status file? Surprised he said, a what. I said the files are not damaged, they are just being kept from claim holders. Maybe you can get the access back I said. He replied he would look into the matter. Good at his word he did look into the issue. In less that 45 minutes none of the GCCF Program Status Files were available to access or download. However, they were made available to the GCCF, and others who work for BP in this process.
So my question is.
When a group of people use their position of power to provide false information in an attempt to injure another party within a Presidential ordered compensation commission, and the party colluded with associates in various states through the use of the Internet, US Phone system and the US postal service, is it in violation of Federal & State prescribed organized crime statutes? Or is it business as usual, placing any other rights above the rights of hard working US citizens?
I did send details of the incident to state AGs when it happened, however there is still no action. As of today the GCCF & Ken Feinberg keeps twisting the screws on claim holders.
That is why I do not trust the GCCF!!!!!!!!!!