A Few Simple Facts To Keep In Mind When Dealing with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility
The Gulf Coast Claims Facility was judged as not independent of BP by a federal court.
On Febuary, 2nd 2011, US district Judge, Carl J. Barbier of New Orleans ruled that the GCCF is not truly independent of BP. This is the same judge and court that will soon be hearing more cases against BP related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In his ruling Judge Barbier stated, "While BP may have delegated to Mr. Feinberg and the GCCF independence in the evaluation and payment of individual claims, many other facts support a finding that the GCCF and Mr. Feinberg are not completely 'neutral' and independent from BP… Mr. Feinberg is not a true third-party neutral such as a mediator, arbitrator, or court-appointed special master."
Ken Finberg's firm gets paid by BP
That's right, the firm which manages the GCCF and is supposed to give money from the $20 Billion dollar fund designed to compensate those whose livelihood was hurt by the oil spill gets paid by the same company that caused the spill. How much you ask? 1.2 million dollars a month. It used to be $850,000 but apparently BP thought he deserved a raise, go figure. Also just to clear any misunderstandings this is not the money used to pay all the people at the GCCF. This 1.2 million is only for the law firm of Finberg and Rozen. Who, according to Mr. Feinberg, "has only eight people working primarily on BP claims".
The GCCF is being audited by the Government for lack of transparency
Due to many, many complaints from individuals and from the states along the Gulf Coast US attorney general, Eric Holder, deiced to start an independent audit of the GCCF and the claims process. Mr. Holder said "My voice has not been as loud as maybe it should have been. There are issues here, legitimate issues that have to be discussed. Things have to be done better." We hope that this audit will help clean up the GCCF and make it more transparent. Though that still remains to be seen.
The GCCF is still dragging their feet on payments
According to the Gulf Coast Claims Facilities' own records they are not doing a great job getting out payments. Of all the payments the GCCF has doled out over 60% have been quick pay claims of five thousand for individuals and no more than twenty five thousand for businesses. These claims also come with a clause that you cannot sue BP, or ask for more if it turns out the Gulf is not as clean as BP says it is and the problems linger on for decades. What's worse is the interim payments, the type that do allow you to get more or sue represent less than 15% of payouts and the GCCF only accept 27% of those who applied for them. The question has to be asked who is the GCCF trying to help. The people who have been hurt by the oil spill, or British Petroleum?