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BP-Gov't Claims Czar Gets More To Give Less

BP Oil Spill.2011

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#1 Mark

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 08:12 AM

Mark: Here's another one of those, WTF! stories. They're giving some guy $1.25 MILLION  A MONTH, to hand out only $3.6 Billion out of the $20 Billion allotted dollars to people and businesses with claims related to the oil disaster. Now, this bozo (probably through his own greed), is telling that he doesn't believe the whole allotted $20 Billion fund will be needed in the end. 172,000 claimants have been payed so far out of the 500,000 claims, and people are complaining the money they have gotten isn't nearly enough to cover their losses!
You know, if he takes a little more of his expensive time, I'm sure some people will give up on their claims, and the entire $20 Billion fund won't be used...but Kenneth Feinberg will be getting over a million dollars richer for each month he drags these people through his red tape.
Something is rotten...and it's not just the dead dolphins that have washed up on Alabama's shores. Oh, btw, our government has put a gag order on the marine biologists sent to investigate the dolphin's doom, because of Federal criminal investigation regarding the die-off. As if the most professional marine scientists in the world shouldn't be involved in a very transparent investigation as to the root cause. What better way to make certain no cover-up happens at top levels than to allow the professionals in the field of marine biology do their thing in front of National Television?  
(Sorry for the italics, and bolding...I couldn't get the system to switch views)

BP hikes Claims Czar Monthly Fee To $1.2 Million!

By HARRY R. WEBER, Associated Press        Harry R. Weber, Associated Press          – Fri Mar 25, 6:03 pm ET                                PASCAGOULA, Miss. – Documents provided by the  administrator of BP's claims fund for Gulf oil spill victims show the  oil giant agreed to increase his law firm's monthly compensation from  $850,000 to $1.25 million.

             The documents furnished Friday to The Associated  Press include a letter from former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey  to claims czar Kenneth Feinberg. Mukasey stated his belief that the  extra money was warranted because Feinberg's duties had grown. Mukasey  was asked by Feinberg to weigh in on how reasonable his compensation  was.

             The pay hike, detailed in a Tuesday letter from Mukasey to Feinberg, is retroactive to Jan. 15 and runs through the end of 2011.

             Feinberg has been criticized for the pace of  processing the roughly 500,000 claims that have been filed since he took  over handling claims for individuals and businesses from the $20  billion fund in August. Fishermen and others have complained that the  money they have received is inadequate, and that in many cases their  claims have been denied with little explanation.

             An AP review published in February that included  interviews with legal experts, government officials and more than 300  Gulf residents found a process beset by red tape and delay. At its  center is a fund administrator whose ties to BP have raised questions  about his independence.

             Under Feinberg's plan for making final payments to  victims, claimants would receive twice their documented 2010 losses.  Oyster harvesters and oyster processors would be offered four times  their losses.

             The White House and BP appointed Feinberg last June  to oversee payments from the fund to individuals and businesses. Since  Feinberg took over the payment process, some $3.6 billion has been paid  out to 172,000 claimants. Besides payments to individuals and  businesses, the fund also can be used to pay for environmental damages  and state and local response costs. Feinberg is not in charge of those  payments.

             Feinberg has said he believes the Gulf of Mexico  should largely recover from BP's oil spill by the end of next year, and  he doesn't think the entire $20 billion will be needed to compensate  victims. Only half of that should suffice, he has said.

Captain Jack, these stories require some of your great photos, or cartoons.
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#2 Broph

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 09:36 AM

Do we know how many people at the firm are working on this, though? Yes, it is an awful lot of money, but unless we know how many people are working how many hours, it's impossible to say how much money is "enough".

#3 Mark

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 10:17 AM

View PostBroph, on 26 March 2011 - 09:36 AM, said:

Do we know how many people at the firm are working on this, though? Yes, it is an awful lot of money, but unless we know how many people are working how many hours, it's impossible to say how much money is "enough".

Mark: I'm not absolutely certain on the facts, but it was my distinct impression the money being discussed for a raise, was just for the Claim Czar's personal salary, not for his entire staff of workers. I'll look into that, get back to this thread with what I find.
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#4 Mark

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 01:53 PM

Mark: Okay, after further reading, it appears lawyer Kenneth Feinberg is well-entrenched in BP's payroll. Again, I've gotten the impression from the articles I've read that Feinberg is getting this $1.25 million a month as his personal compensation. Whether or not that is the case I couldn't confirm.

However, since it was BP, AND the Obama Administration who had Feinberg appointed, I would go as far to say that our President  (a.k.a., our government), is allowing BP to get off easy by hiring it's own payout person.  Isn't their a certain conflict of interest involved here by allowing BP to have say in who distributes their promised funds for OUR losses, because of THEIR negligence, and the resulting environmental damages? Even $20 billion is a drop in the bucket for a company as large and rich as BP.  

BP can come out relatively well regarding their financial obligation to people, businesses and the environment  in each of  two ways this will most likely play out...

1) By paying off the claims as quickly as possible (early-on in terms of possible long-term environmental impact, and therefor taking advantage of claimants desperation for the money they're offering NOW.
Again, I don't think a lot of people can see into the future and know how much this disaster could eventually cost them.  The U.S. Government is apparently taking the word of big-time lawyer-boy regarding his estimate of environmental recovery by the end of next year. :angry:

2) The second way BP can come out  relatively financially unaffected is by taking their sweet time with all the claims, and allowing all that fund money to linger and earn interest in THEIR own banks, while our society suffers from their damages.
Of course, needless to say BP should NOT be involved in deciding how much money this claim lawyer is getting paid, should they? In allowing that, we are in effect allowing BP to dictate how much money our American citizens and businesses are being compensated. How can AMERICA allow a company (not a country) to dictate to us when, and how much compensation we'll get because of the negligence and disaster it has caused? If an independent country had been responsible for this disaster, we'd probably be bombing them for terrorism, or have seized their assets in whatever banks they were in around the world! We did it to Iraq.

Of course, if we class-action law-suited BP for compensation due to their company's criminal negligence, they would no-doubt tie up their billions of dollars for many more years in the banks of their choice. Not even the interest coming off that $20 billion would be given to current claimants, and used for other things negatively affected by this disaster.

Regarding Ken Feinberg and his loyalties...
I thought the one very telling comment that came from this Kenneth Feinberg, was that he thought only half the money should be needed to pay off all the personal and business claims. Since many of the personal and business claims stem from losses due to the environmental impact this disaster, knowing how much this is likely to cost people in the end cannot likely be calculated by anybody at this time, much-less, Feinberg. Like HE is an environmental expert? How can he boldly claim the environment should recover by the end of next year? Not even legitimate environmental experts know how long this cleanup, and recovery of the environment, along with it's delicate marine, bird, and wetland creatures will take, and how much money it could cost these claimant before it's truly over! Give me a break! Our government and President have once again sold us out to big oil.

Of the $20 billion dollar fund, whatever is left over after Feinberg has distributed claims to private citizens and businesses along the Gulf coast, will supposedly be used to aid the environmental cleanup, and wildlife recovery. Feinberg is thankfully NOT in charge of the funding for the environmental recovery efforts..

Anyway, back to his pay raise. According to one article, at first Feinberg said he would take on this claim job for no pay, and would be willing to work as a public servant. How can he be a public servant if the company that pays him is the one that caused the disaster? :glare:

The only way I can see a justification of giving him a $400,000 a month raise, is IF this extra money is to be used to get more of his claim specialists out to the over 300,000 people still waiting on help. Also, and possibly in his defense...if you calculate the figures to reflect how much he is charging them to process every claim (per claim), it calculates into a VERY low figure for a lawyer and his law firm. $1.25 million divided by the current number of claimants who have been payed so far, equals...$7.27 paid to his firm per claim. Reasonable...even public servant-like. However, if that $1.25 million a month is just going to his personal pay...  ...I'm marching on Washington tomorrow!

If his firm has paid out $3.6 billion to 172,000 claimants, that's about $20,454.55 paid  for each claim thus far. That doesn't sound like a whole lot of money per claim, does it? People's property either ruined temporarily or permanently as a result of loss of tourism, or loss of wildlife/plant life. People's businesses either suffering from lack of tourism, or totally put out of business because of the the ongoing environmental impact, and the affects its causing to entire industries all along the Gulf Coast. .

If the entire $20 billion fund was payed out to every one of the 500,000 claims filed, the payoff per claim would be, $40,000.00. I think Feinberg and BP have already prepared us they're only going to pay half that $20 billion for individuals, and businesses. The remainder is supposed to be used for environmental cleanup and recovery. I'm certain Obama has already worked out a deal with BP allowing them to dictate to us how they'll try to clean up the disaster they've wrought upon our lovely sea, and shores.
Damn them all!
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Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.

#5 Broph

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 06:44 AM

Although this article talks about the Madoff case rather than BP, it reminded me of this thread.



The trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff’s defunct investment firm said he has recovered more than $7.6 billion for investors in the Ponzi scheme against fees of $175.5 million requested since Madoff’s arrest.

Irving Picard, who has filed more than 1,000 suits seeking money for the con man’s investors, said in February he was halfway to recovering the $20 billion in principal lost when Madoff was arrested in 2008. In a court filing April 18, he put the recovery $2.4 billion lower, at about 44 percent of principal lost. Most of the difference is the amount of forfeited funds held by the U.S. Attorney, which has been disputed in court.

Picard gave the new numbers as part of a fee request to a bankruptcy judge, seeking approval for $43.2 million for four months’ work by himself and his law firm, Baker & Hostetler LLP. Amanda Remus, a spokeswoman for Picard, declined to comment.
Picard’s law firm said it spent 7,086 hours on investigations at a cost of $3.1 million from Oct. 1 to Jan. 31.

Now I'm not going to get into an argument of whether their cost of $3 million should be compensated with $175 million, but dividing $3.1 million by 7086 is $437 per hour (which isn't really fair since there are more costs than just labor - there are computers, copy machines, taxis, etc.). I don't know if people would call $437 per hour "reasonable", but it's close to what I'd expect they'd charge.

(edit was to fix the URL and the bolding)

Edited by Broph, 21 April 2011 - 06:46 AM.

#6 Nittany Lioness

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 10:46 AM

Feinberg is the same man that handled the 9/11 payouts, and he's apparently extremely fair, sharp and calls bullcrap when it's submitted as claims.  BP is supposed to pay for all the fall out - every cent, so it makes sense BP is footing his bill.

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#7 Bad Wolf

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 12:01 PM

so long as BP (not anyone else) is having to shell out the money I'm okay.
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#8 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 02:52 PM

As long as BP is paying this guy's bill, I have no problem with it.

I DO, however, have a problem with the government putting a gag on the marine scientists. Doesn't the first Amendment protect against the government from limiting a person's free speech?
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

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Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

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