Oil spill claims administrator Ken Feinberg offers hope to victims
Jeez...Feinberg Rosen should just can their PR firm and let the Picayune write their press releases. I'm not sure what Feinberg did to give the Picayune such a hard on but I don't think it's possible to adulate someone in print any better than this editorial. I think they got a hold of a 12 year old girl's fan letter to Justin Bieber and plugged in Feinberg's name.
Indeed, every article on Feinberg published by the TP seems to be a pitch. Perhaps they should hire the Shamwow guy to write the next editorial:
Manager of $20 billion oil spill escrow fund won praise for work with 9/11 fund
What's most interesting to me is not just the tone, but the lack of substance in the articles the TP has produced on Feinberg and his grand plan to dispense the 20b. Case in point, this story they reported on Feinberg's visit to Port Sulpher and Lafitte.
Feinberg offers hope to spill victims
Both the editorial and the original article seem to really like this quote:
"I believe that any claimant in Louisiana who is eligible is making a mistake -- a big mistake -- not to come into this program," he said.
Is that a plea or a threat?
Pledging his independence from the federal government and BP, Feinberg said he plans to establish a centralized claim center, beef up a staff of adjusters and be a constant, visible figure for Gulf Coast residents.
"This is an independent, private program," he said. "I'm not beholden to the Obama administration. I'm not beholden to BP. I'm an independent administrator calling the shots as I see them."
Yet he was appointed by who? Would he have us believe that the "go to" man for large scale arbitration matters like this has absolutely no vested interests? Really? Has anyone bothered to check and see if Mr. Feinberg or his associates have financial interests in BP or companies involved with BP? Has anyone bothered to see if Feinberg or his associates made donations to Obama's campaign? I haven't checked myself but then I didn't jump into bed with him the moment he waltzed in to town.
What really gobsmacked me is that the reporters who took the time to show up at Feinberg's evangelical tour around South East La., didn't bother to report what the actual deal was that Mr. Feinberg laid out to the audiences.
I talked to a fisherman friend of mine, who made the effort to be at both the Port Sulphur and Lafitte meetings. He informed me that Feinberg's message caused tremendous anxiety among his fellow fisherman. Here's why.
According to my friend's interpretation, Feinberg said they are allowing people affected by the spill to file an initial 6 month emergency claim to compensate them for their losses. That claim would be "assessed on a month to month basis"....I have no idea what the criteria for that assessment is. If you are working with BP YOU ARE NOT eligible for that claim. Upon the end of that 6 month period, you can file a long term claim which should project your losses out to a 3 year period. Upon filing that claim you must sign a waiver stating that you can not file suit against BP and you cannot attempt to amend your losses once the claim is filed.
So if I'm a fisherman working for BP right now they aren't allowing me to wear a respirator or protective gear. If I get ill after I've signed that waiver, does that negate my ability to file suit against BP? Even if I didn't work for BP and I signed that waiver and come up with health problems related to the spill...does that negate my ability to file suit against BP? How did they come up with the arbitrary time period of 3 years? From every account I've heard, this spill is going to affect the region for over a decade. If there is only 5 billion dollars being put into the escrow account in the first year, what happens if the initial claims exceed that amount in the first year, or second year? Does that mean people will have to wait up to X months to get paid?
I'm no Pulitzer prize winning reporter but it seems to me like these are basic questions the TP should have been asking instead of throwing roses at Mr. Feinberg as his chariot entered the city. I hope they wore a condom.
UPDATE: Drake Toulouse and I are crossing paths. Clint is one of the fisherman who filled me in on what exactly Feinberg said.