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Feinberg's law firm paid $850,000 a year by BP. He handles Gulf oil claims. Transparency needed?

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:31 PM
Original message
Feinberg's law firm paid $850,000 a year by BP. He handles Gulf oil claims. Transparency needed?
Edited on Thu Jan-27-11 02:01 PM by madfloridian
Oil spill claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg was recently back in Florida admitting there had been mistakes made. The news is really not covering just how badly Gulf residents were hurt in many areas. It's a shame how poorly this has been handled.

A Tulane law professor, Edward Sherman, was hired by plaintiff counsel to determine whether the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is meeting expectations.

From Courthouse News Service:

Feinberg's Independence From BP Questioned

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - A legal expert says aspects of BP's oil spill compensation fund made through its Gulf Coast Claims Center "do not comport with the usual standards for transparency and fairness." Kenneth Feinberg's law firm receives $850,000 a month while Feinberg oversees claims for BP. Tulane law professor Edward Sherman was hired by plaintiff counsel to determine whether the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is meeting expectations.

Sherman made the statement in a 5-page declaration submitted to U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who is hearing the consolidated complaints stemming from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

Sherman wrote that a claims center should be established with standards of "independence, neutrality, and experience," should adhere to judicial supervision, and should be transparent about where its funding comes from.

Claimants should be told Feinberg was hired by and is paid through BP, Sherman wrote. He says this would help claimants determine for themselves whether Feinberg's statement that claimants are better off not litigating may be influenced by Feinberg's contract with BP.


Also one of the three firms picked by Feinberg to handle claims has already been working for BP.

Ken Feinberg appoints law firm working with BP to advise oil spill claimants

One of three law firms appointed by Ken Feinberg last week to advise people filing damage claims through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility has been working for BP since at least June, according to contracts obtained by the Press-Register.

A press spokeswoman for claims czar Ken Feinberg said that he was aware that the Mississippi-based Brunini, Grantham, Grower and Hewes law firm had been doing some work for BP when he chose the company to advise claimants.


Even though our government has declared gulf seafood to be safe, there are serious problems. The seafood industry has a lot of questions for Feinberg.

From The Florida Independent:

Florida seafood industry poses questions for Feinberg

The Gulf Coast Claims Facility has been paying claims to tourism businesses affected by the BP oil spill, but a fishing industry representative told the Florida Senate Agriculture Committee that another group of businesses seafood wholesalers may not be faring as well.

Robert Jones of the Southern Fisheries Association said the facility is paying a lot of claims, but some wholesalers, particularly larger ones, dont seem to be making it through the process, or they are receiving far less than they requested. Others in the industry have reported wild variations in terms of who gets paid and how much, which Jones said has sometimes seemed based on whoever gets the lucky claims adjuster.


Claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg has pledged to correct such inconsistencies when the facility begins paying final claims in February.

Hes a very nice man just enthusiastic and credible, Jones said of Feinberg. But he could use more oversight, and should provide quantifiable information to show that the problems are being corrected.


If Feinberg's firm is getting $850,000 a month, there most certainly should be oversight.

I have my own idea as to why Feinberg did not devote so much attention to this as he should have done. He was hired by Randi Weingarten of the AFT (teachers'union)to plan a way to fire tenured teachers more effectively.

That plan was only recently turned in to the union.

Feinberg in FL admitting mistakes in Gulf payouts. Too busy with plan to expedite teacher firings...

In case you are interested in the report on firing tenured teachers more effectively, you can read about it here at Education Week.

The process for removing tenured teachers accused of crimes or malfeasance should be expedited, taking no longer than 100 days from start to finish, concludes a memorandum commissioned by the American Federation of Teachers.

Prepared by Kenneth R. Feinberg, a lawyer well known for overseeing aspects of damage payments for the 2010 BP oil spill, the proposal calls for a better screening mechanism at the district level to weed out allegations without merit. Impartial hearing examiners would hear legitimate cases and issue a binding ruling.


Feinberg came back to Florida after that report was finished, claiming he made some mistakes and it has taken him longer to get a handle on things. That statement stunned me. He is playing with people's lives.

Weve made some mistakes, he said, and the facility will take another look at those issues when those claimants seek final and interim payments.

Feinberg stopped short of offering a formal appeals process, which some Florida officials, including former Attorney General Bill McCollum and outgoing Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon, had been calling for. Right now, only claimants receiving more than $250,000 can appeal the funds decisions.

Feinberg said it has taken him longer than expected to get a handle on the long-term outlook for the Gulf Coast, but that the claims fund he oversees will begin making quarterly interim and final payments in February.


There is very little known about the outlook for the future of the Gulf. In fact we already know that BP attempted to buy off university researchers around the area.

When a company pays the researchers there's a chance their findings may not be quite accurate. There has been a vital window in time to do what could be done for these people around the Gulf of Mexico. More and more I am getting the feeling it has been ignored, swept under the rug as an inconvenience.

Yes, Feinberg needed more oversight on this job. It's a tragic situation.

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postulater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
1. Bookmarked.
Thanks.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Most welcome. This affects so many lives.
:hi:
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
2. From the Courthouse News Service. Serious stuff.
"Claimants should be told Feinberg was hired by and is paid through BP, Sherman wrote. He says this would help claimants determine for themselves whether Feinberg's statement that claimants are better off not litigating may be influenced by Feinberg's contract with BP."

..."Sherman claims the monthly $850,000 "fee arrangement" between BP and Feinberg's law firm, Feinberg Rozen LP, "contrasts with the usual method of payment of special masters, who are paid on an hourly basis according to the prevailing market rates in the community."
Citing BP's hiring of lawyers to work at its facility to field claims, Sherman wrote that "having a defendant pay for representation of claimants against it is far from the best way to insure legal representation, and raises questions about the adversaries of attorneys who counsel claimants about whether to accept an offer."

http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/01/25/33591.htm
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
4. Final payments begin soon. Feinberg hasn't yet disclosed protocols.
"Oil spill claims czar Kenneth Feinberg told a Senate subcommittee that he expects to begin paying final and interim compensation for spill-related damages on or about Feb. 18, according to his prepared remarks.

..."Feinberg, who was chosen to oversee the claims process by both President Barack Obama and BP, defended his Gulf Coast Claims Facility from critics who say he is not truly independent. His lawfirm, Feinberg Rozen, is paid $850,000 a month by BP, and critics say he's influenced by BP in how he doles out payments. Feinberg reiterated that he has not been influenced.

He did, however, acknowledge again that his operation has had some difficulty ensuring payments are uniform for all 168,000 who have been paid and more than 480,000 applicants. He promised the subcommittee that he would post next week on the GCCF website, www.gulfcoastclaimsfacility.com, new protocols and methodologies for calculating final and interim claims payments.

..."But Feinberg has promised to disclose those methods before and has not yet done so. Two weeks ago he told The Times-Picayune it would be available by this week and it was not. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., echoed that concern. Shelby said Feinberg first told him he would disclose his calculation methods back on Dec. 16, and Shelby said it was unacceptable that the information is not yet posted on the website."


http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2011/01/feinberg_final_interim_oil_spi.html
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 04:05 PM
Response to Original message
5. Law professor being paid $950 an hour with BP's money declares Feinberg independent.
Edited on Thu Jan-27-11 04:13 PM by madfloridian
From MSNBC from Dec. 30

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40852771/ns/us_news-environment/#

"A law professor being paid $950 an hour with BP's money has declared that the czar of the $20 billion claims fund for Gulf oil spill victims is independent of the oil giant.

Fund administrator Ken Feinberg said Thursday he has agreed to pay New York University professor Stephen Gillers for his advice. Since being hired, Gillers has written a letter stating that Feinberg is neutral and not subject to BP's direction or control."

xxxxxxxxxxx
Also from Pensacola news site WKRG;

"I need you to help me understand why you are not paying legitimate claims, why?" Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon will lead the charge. "His decision making process makes sense if you are trying to save BP money and if you are trying to minimize pay outs and to minimize punitive litigation down the road. If you look at Mr. Feinberg is our advocate, then nothing makes sense."

Businesses and individuals in Orange Beach continue to be paid only a percentage of what they claim. CPA certified claims are being turned down and the number of denied claims continue to rise. "Mr. Feinberg is God on earth. He has the checkbook and he has complete and total control and he answers to no one," says Kennon.

Like all the public meetings with Feinberg in the past, this one will take place at the Orange Beach Rec. Center but you may notice something a little different. "We have increased our security measures with all this going on. You can't not do it. We have no threats. We have no concern there is going to be an issue. We just want to make sure we take precautionary steps to make sure there are no problems," says Kennon."

http://www.wkrg.com/gulf_oil_spill/article/increased-security-for-ob-feinberg-meeting/1203997/Jan-12-2011_7-17-pm/

So little publicity, one would think all was well in the Gulf of Mexico.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 08:05 PM
Response to Original message
6. Kick for transparency. And because I live near the Gulf.
Many feel like I do, that this process was corporatized beyond belief. Feinberg should stick to firing teachers, he's really not suitable for this job.
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Poboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 08:11 PM
Response to Original message
7. Recommend
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Overseas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 09:00 PM
Response to Original message
8. Sad K&R. //nt
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 10:23 PM
Response to Original message
9. K&R
On June 16, 2010, it was reported that Feinberg was to run a $20 billion fund to pay claims for the BP oil spill. President Obama said that the $20 billion from BP "will not be controlled by either BP or by the government. It will be put in an escrow account administered by an impartial, independent third party." Obama said he and BP's chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, agreed on having Kenneth Feinberg administer the fund. (Feinberg was also selected by Obama to oversee the compensation of top executives at bailed out banks.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Feinberg
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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 10:49 PM
Response to Original message
10. Yet another story filled with holes the MSM ignores...what a shock eh?
Thanks for posting and bookmarked.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Yes, ignored by the media.
I had to keep kicking it shamelessly myself because it almost disappeared.

I feel so sorry, there are so many angry people. One of our friends had a home there for when they retired so they could devote full time to their scallop gathering. Most likely that won't happen.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-11 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
12. Upset people in Louisiana meeting.
"Feinberg had a private meeting scheduled with Parish President Craig Taffaro on Friday. Taffaro said Feinberg -- the man overseeing BP's $20 billion claims fund for oil spill victims -- refused to meet with the fishermen and business owners publicly because it was not creating solutions.

So Taffaro scheduled his own public meeting at 9 a.m. Friday at the parish council chambers, and then planned to meet with Feinberg afterward.

But Feinberg accidentally showed up at the council chambers shortly after Taffaro left, and people quickly realized who he was and began demanding answers.

One woman was very vocal, sharing her name and claim details with Feinberg and asking why her claim hadn't been paid. Feinberg told her, "I'll look into it," but the woman questioned how he would do that when he hadn't written down her name."

http://www.wdsu.com/r/26650537/detail.html
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-11 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
13. K/R
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Dont_Bogart_the_Pretzel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-11 08:12 PM
Response to Original message
14. K/R
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-31-11 09:33 PM
Response to Original message
15. KICK!

Kenneth Feinberg

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/31/bp-compensation-fund-offe_n_816483.html">Gulf Oil Spill Compensation Fund Issues 1 Final Payment Out Of 91,000 Claims


OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. BP's compensation fund for Gulf oil spill victims has issued a final settlement payment to just one of the thousands of people and businesses waiting for checks, records show, and that $10 million payout went to a company after the oil giant intervened on its behalf.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/31/bp-compensation-fund-offe_n_816483.html">MORE


- Gee, I bet if we had a Democratic President in the WH, things like this would never happen.......
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