Shrimper Elmer Rogers broke down on and dropped to his knees in front of BP’s oil spill claims fund administrator, Feinberg, and begged for money to help him pay his bills, to feed his daughter and keep his house. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg is overseeing payments to oil spill victims from BP’s $20 billion compensation fund.
Feinberg has visited the Gulf Coast meeting with residents, business owners and fishermen who have been complaining that they’re not getting compensated enough. BP oil spill on April 20 killed 11 rig workers and spewed millions of gallons of crude into the sea. Rogers was one of hundreds who showed up at Tuesday morning’s meeting in the small southern Louisiana fishing town of Lafitte. He said his claim was denied by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which was set up to dole out BP’s money to those impacted by the spill.
The residents of Mississippi also have same complaints to Feinberg and he promised to make things better, but said the system is working. He told that the process now allows for three options. Spill victims can file for a quick cash one-time payment of $5,000 for individuals and $25,000 for businesses. But to accept the money, they must give up their right to sue BP or any other responsible company. They could opt for a final settlement offer, but also would have to give up the right to sue.
Feinberg has faced repeated criticism for not being transparent in the payment process and for denying claims or paying too little. He said he is doing the best he can, and believes the process is working but acknowledged there are some problems given the sheer volume of requests for compensation.