Tallahassee, FL - "Uncertainty breeds criticism!"
Ken Feinberg, BP claims fund administrator, had no pretenses about appearing before a tough crowd in Tallahassee today (10-28).
After all, it's up to Florida's Gulf oil spill economic recovery task force to hold BP accountable. Feinberg controls BP's 20-billion dollar claims fund. And, he's taking heat for not paying claims out nearly fast enough.
Feinberg says, "The restaurant or the lodging or the motel in Miami or in Key West or whatever, we have to look at those claims, and all I was trying to point out to the task force is the daunting task of calculating what's attributable to the spill and what's attributable to the downturn in the economy or other local considerations."
It's those hotels and restaurants hundreds of miles away from the spill that are having the most difficult time getting paid. That's because it's difficult to prove cancelled reservations are a direct result of oil coming ashore way up in the panhandle. But even people like John Naybors, who owns a Pensacola marina, told Feinberg they have yet to see a check.
Naybors says, "If I could talk to someone who is actually doing the work on the claim itself, we probably could have straightened this out in the first couple of weeks of this."
On almost every complaint, Feinberg says he agrees. That's why he's hiring more people and trying to streamline the process, in the name of finally giving the spill's victims what they deserve.
Come November 23, Feinberg will begin offering what he calls 'final payments' to businesses and individuals impacted by the oil spill. Essentially, they'll be checks based on long-term damage estimates.
If people take them, they wouldn't be able to sue BP down the road.