Saturday, November 6, 2010

Riley: Spill claims taking Alabama for a ride

The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 5, 2010 at 8:38 p.m.
MOBILE | Gov. Bob Riley says the oil spill claims process is on a roller coaster, speeding up when leaders call a meeting to air complaints and slowing down again soon after.
Riley voiced his complaint after he joined Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, in a meeting Thursday in Mobile with oil spill claims czar Ken Feinberg.
Feinberg spent most of the morning listening to business owners explain how they and others in their industry feel left out in the cold by Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility.
Most of the owners said that they and others got payments that covered only a fraction of their losses.
Feinberg took down claim numbers from many of those present and promised to give them his personal attention. Feinberg said he would “try to do right” by the business owners he talked with.
The (Mobile) Press-Register reported that Riley told Feinberg about one claimant who presented all the required documentation and had it audited by a certified public accountant — then was told only 2 to 10 percent of the claim would be paid and the claimant must agree not to sue BP.
Riley, who did not name the claimant, called it “an incredible injustice.” Feinberg said he would check on that specific claim, Riley said.
“This has been as much of a roller coaster ride as anything that I have participated in since I’ve been governor,” said Riley, in his eighth year in the office. “I hope that Mr. Feinberg understands he holds the future of all these small businesses in south Alabama in his hands.”

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