On Monday, several members of the tight knit Grand Isle fishing community banded together to deliver a petition to President Obama complaining about Kenneth Feinberg of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) and asking for his immediate dismissal or resignation.
GCCF Has A Lack of Effort and Transparency
As you all know, Mr. Feinberg is the administrator of the GCCF. This is the office that is supposed to be processing your final claims payments from damages suffered from the BP Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil spill. Grand Isle fishermen and community members circulated the petition all over the Gulf Coast and on Facebook. They are decrying Feinberg’s lack of effort, lack of transparency, lack of propriety, and his failure to carry out his mission—to make whole the peoples of the Gulf Coast that BP has put through certain hell.
GCCF Has Not Done Enough With the BP Claims Fund
One such resident, Karen Hopkins, assistant to Grand Isle shrimp dock owner Dean Blanchard, is leading the charge. She claims that Feinberg has simply not done enough to make sure that the $20 billion fund, which was set aside by BP to settle the claims brought by damaged Gulf Coast residents immediately following the accident, has been properly handled and fairly distributed. Hopkins says that Feinberg is stymieing those filing claims at every turn, constantly denying claims and demanding more and more paperwork. These actions, she explains, go against everything BP and the GCCF have publicly promised.
We need an investigation of the GCCF
Further, it is also being pointed out that there would be many more signatures on the petition if people whose claims are currently being considered were not afraid of having their claims denied in retaliation. The GCCF says they have been inundated with nearly half a million claims that they are currently attempting to process. By their own admission, only 168,013 claims have been paid out, totaling nearly $3 million of the $20 billion set aside.
When accused of not being an impartial administrator, Feinberg is quick to point out that he spent a lot of money having Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law, investigate his situation with BP. Professor Gillers claims that he read through all of Feinberg’s contracts with BP and, even though he is being paid and employed by BP, Feinberg is still able to work independently of their control. Keep in mind that Gillers was paid from the $20 billion account as well. Some might analogize this to having the wolf’s best friend make sure the wolf himself was doing a fine job guarding the hen house.