Oil Spill Claims Czar Feinberg Blasted on First Day of Overseeing BP Payments

Oil Spill Claims Czar Feinberg Critics of BP's (BP) program to compensate Gulf of Mexico oil spill victims took aim at Kenneth Feinberg on Monday as he officially started his first day as the Gulf Coast Claims Facility's independent administrator, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Feinberg, who was jointly selected to be the new oil spill claims czar by the White House and BP, took heat over guidelines established for those filing claims against the $20 billion fund BP set up for victims of the oil spill that followed the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, which killed 11 workers. The resulting leak spewed nearly 5 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, effecting the region's bountiful fisheries and its tourism industry.

Gulf Coast state officials and lawyers representing those affected claimed Feinberg's guidelines are too restrictive, fail to allow enough time for victims to assess their long-term damages before they file a final settlement claim, fall short in how they view the geographic boundaries of who should be eligible to make a claim, and unfairly deduct any earnings victims may have received from BP for working on the oil spill cleanup from their eventual claims payout, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Claims were previously handled by BP, which was blasted for its lethargic response speed. As a result, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility was set up to administer a portion of BP's $20 billion compensation fund. It received more than 5,000 claims on its first day of operation Monday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A Three-Year Window for Final Claims

BP, which has processed 78,000 claims since early June and paid out $399 million, previously expressed concern that people who weren't affected by the oil spill would nonetheless try to collect against its fund. The Justice Department, however, is expected to announce Tuesday that its National Center for Disaster Fraud, founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, will focus now on oil spill claims, according to the report.

Under the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, Feinberg is giving people until Nov. 23 to file for temporary payments, then three more years to submit final settlement claims to cover all their damages. Critics say three years isn't enough time to assess the long-term economic affects of the spill on people's lives -- from the loss of previously held jobs to damage to property values and beyond.

Meanwhile, state officials along the Gulf Coast complain their input about the guidelines went mostly unheeded. Feinberg is heavily weighing claimants' proximity to the oil-slicked shoreline as a factor in the size of payouts, but people in Florida who were further away from the action claim the damage to their tourism industry was severe, despite their distance from the slick. Florida's attorney general ripped into Feinberg last week in a letter that claimed the liability restrictions he was imposing were tougher than those in the Oil Pollution Act, The Wall Street Journal reports.










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tomm50

What a scam this all is. DUH the HERRING gone from Valdez didn't show up until four years later. And wait a minute - this is NOT Kenny's doing. This was all mapped out and planned at the White House/BP meeting. TWENTY billion over FOUR years (out of BP revenue from Gulf). Kenny (wife - firm). has made a bundle off the MISERY and deaths of others. Pro-bono my azz. Everything (including property taxes - Maryland mansion I'm told) is dealt with through his EXPENSE account. Two kids in the BEST of colleges - Luxury $$$ cars etc. Ken's been there for every payout - be it Virgina Tech or 9/11 - That's where he made a real killing. This TAXPAYER bailout (Oklahoma folks got zero - USS COLE families got zero) was SOLELY to protect (Billions upon Billions) the AIRLINES and the Israeli Security Company at the THREE airports involved - PERIOD!! As I remember a FEW (one was killed in Buffalo commuter plane accident) women WANTED the TRUTH (go to trial) above the MONEY. They were harassed - etc. I'm not sure where they are now with this but the majority took the dough. IT was never our job to PAY for all this ineptness - negligence - incompetence. They hurried in the midst of emotion - but like I say/ WHAT of other terrorist victims or do we ONLY pay out when corporate interests are threatened? Seems so. MANY people will get squat (hotels - restaurants - beach front property - small businesses etc). Then there's the HEALTH effects from all that toxic dispersant / everybody from the Valdez (last I heard) OIL 'spill' are DEAD. Poor Bast*rds they waited 21 YEARS and then thanks to Superego Court supporting, who else, but their buddies in the oil business the victims got a pittance for their RUINED lives.

August 30 2010 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doug

The goverment is involved - somehow the money is not going to go to whom it should.

August 24 2010 at 10:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jokesl3

"czar" sounds pretty foreign doesn't it? The more un-American, the more Obama likes it.

August 24 2010 at 9:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
trnichols17

Feinbergs just another government hack that has no idea what to do.He just ok'd payout to States Realtors 'Who lost or had sales cancelled because of an oil spill'Please someone pinch me so I know I'm still alive!!!!

August 24 2010 at 3:57 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
lazyh

Q: What's the difference between a oil claims lawyer and a carp? A: One is a scum-******* bottom feeder; the other is a fish.

August 24 2010 at 3:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dondavy28

HIS JOB IS EASY,REJECT ALL CLAIMS AND DIVIDE THE THE 20 BILLION UP BETWEEN OBAMASS,POLSI AND REID

August 24 2010 at 3:46 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
scorchmonster777

I'll bet Feinberg has spider webs in his wallet, and makes his wife recycle the old coffee grounds, and then bitches cause the coffee tastes like crap!

August 24 2010 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bobeggs

One day on the job and the bottom-feeders are at him already. How about saving the criticism until more results are evident. This is not supposed to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow as the tobacco settlement was turned into. The tort lawyers are still a fuming over the 9/11 lost income. Sorry you trial-venue shoppers, legitimate justice, not greed, will hopefully prevail.

August 24 2010 at 3:12 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
jleo25

Good Luck, Ken. If you thought you had met greedy, self-centered, me-first people when you administered the 9/11 payouts, the lawyers for the Holocaust claims, and the Wall Street crowd, you "ain't seen nothing yet." Everyone south of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Rockies thinks he has a legitmate claim to the BP "kettle of gold." There were even inquiries here in New England about compensation because restaraunts couldn't get their supplies of Gulf shrimp. This is the bonanza for the rednecks and their "county seat" lawyer politicians. Keep you head down and don't publish your phone number.

August 24 2010 at 3:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
fckjr

Greed and political and racial prejudice are driving the criticism of Kenneth Feinberg and the new Gulf Coast Claims Facility. There is no question that many will attempt to manipulate the process for undeserved compensation, as happened after Hurricane Katrina and other disasters that elicited governmental assistance. Mr. Feinberg's reputation as a non-nonsense professional and a man of integrity argue loudly for allowing him time to get his arms around the beast and fashion a claims system that best addresses actual damages to businesses and inviduals. I live and work in Biloxi, Mississippi and I believe Mr. Feinberg is exactly the right person to oversee the new claims process. He will handle all claims with fairness and an acute awareness of those who would try to take advantage of the program. As for the issue of long-term effects and how to best address compensation, that is an open-ended debate that will be sorted out in the next three years. For those concerned that they might lose their right to sue, they can do that at any time prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations as outlined in State and Federal Law. If anyone disagrees with that, they need to go to the lawmakers and have them change the law. Mr. Feinberg is charged with a finite duty to immediately address the matter of just compensation for those adversely affected by the oil spill. His term limit is three years. If the damages linger beyond that, it is up to the appropriate legislators to provide for that occurrence. Criticizing Mr. Feinberg for stepping up and taking on such a monumental task at this time -- even though damages may continue for years to come -- is akin to criticizing the lightbulb installer for the possibility that the replacement bulbs might someday have to be replaced.

August 24 2010 at 2:56 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply