BP's Gulf Fund Confusing Everyone

Including the Journal and the Post
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2010 10:35 AM CDT
In this June 21, 2010 file photo, a fisherman stands near commercial fishing boats in a marina at sunset in Grand Isle, La.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
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(Newser) – All is not well with BP’s inscrutable Gulf compensation fund, but the exact problems seem to be a matter of debate. The Wall Street Journal today runs a piece complaining that payments have been too slow and weirdly erratic. The Justice Department has called the pace of payments “unacceptable,” and many businesses have had claims denied without explanation, while neighbors got paid. “There’s no transparency,” says one furniture store owner who was initially denied. “This is the most sublime form of human cruelty I had ever experienced.”

But, meanwhile, the Washington Post has a piece complaining that the flood of money is changing the coast. It cites stories of fishermen and shrimpers purposely declining to work. “It don’t pay me to do that when they’re going to pay my claim anyway,” one explains. In response to the aforementioned Justice Department criticism, program head Kenneth Feinberg recently made the system more generous—and claims have doubled as a result. “People see that their next-door neighbor is getting paid,” he says. So they say, “Why don’t we submit a claim?”

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