How BP, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and Ken Feinberg Stole Christmas and Our Hope For a Speedy Resolution to the Damages of the BP Spill
NEW ORLEANS and MARATHON, Fla., Dec. 22, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is a statement by Gulf Coast Fishermen Gregg Arnold, Captain, Fishing in the Land of Giants, New Orleans, La., and Bradford Picariello, Captain, Outlaw Sportfishing, Marathon, Fla.:
In Dr. Seuss’s famous story How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, when the Grinch is caught trying to steal a Christmas tree by little Cindy Lou Who, he makes up a story explaining he is taking the tree back to his workshop to fix a broken light and then promises to return the tree in, as we are led to believe, tip-top condition. While we never see the girl’s immediate reaction upon waking Christmas morning to a barren home, we know the joy of her family and community sustain her and everything is ultimately made right.
The story of The Grinch is representative of how we feel about BP, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) and Ken Feinberg; however, we are doubtful that all will be put “right” in the end. The BP oil spill stormed into “town” and stole our figurative Christmas. Then, as the story goes, the GCCF was created and the enlightened Grinch, Mr. Feinberg, was introduced as the one chosen to ride back into Whoville and make things right. The process sounds nice enough but is far from reality. Although our families and communities sustain us in one sense, our livelihoods, house mortgages, electric bills and the like are another matter.
Those of us making this plea for help have collected our data, filed our claims, done what was asked and remain stuck in an economically challenged state waiting to hear anything. Some of us have received payments that reflect a small fraction of our claim with no explanation as to why the other fraction is missing, some of us have received nothing and no word of what to expect or when to expect it.
Gregg: As a coastal fisherman from New Orleans, so far I have lost $139,000, been forced to sell two of my three fishing boats and have suffered health issues these last few months. I believe this is because of the stress caused by Feinberg and the GCCF’s new “improved” system. I have received a check from the GCCF, but it was less than 13% of my claim. The fund offered no specific explanation for the difference.
Brad: In Marathon, Fla., my family and I have also experienced GCCF delays and Feinberg’s empty promises. I should be making $850 a day running my charter boat business; instead I’m fishing for mackerel—catching 30 pounds a day, which is only $40 worth of fish. So far, I’ve lost more than $115,000. I filed a claim three months ago and haven’t heard anything from the GCCF. I have three school-aged kids and 10-month-old twins. What do I tell them this Christmas?
Our stories represent hundreds of fishermen and their families in the Gulf Coast and thousands of others who are suffering because of BP, the claims fund and Mr. Feinberg. Â Can the Grinch grow back his heart and save our Christmas?