While BP, along with federal and state governments, appear ready to move into the restoration phase of post-spill efforts, there are others who are hung up on claims.
Like David Helland, who runs a charter boat out of Dauphin Island, Ala.
“Ken Feinberg and BP promised to make me whole, and they have not,” Helland said. “Instead of being paid, I was accused of fraud—been over a year, still have not been paid.”
The charter boat owner filed a claim with BP’s Gulf Coast Claim Facility for loss of income due to the spill. Joining a chorus of other Gulf Coast voices that claim BP is stiffing them for losses, Helland took part in a conference call Dec. 22 in an effort to get their message out.
Attorney Brent Coon had assembled the choir from a list of his oil-spill clients. He wanted to balance out BP’s warm-and-fuzzy PR blitz.
“We know a lot about BP’s public relations tactics,” Coon said.
Lois Neville (cousin of singer Aaron Neville) owns a 250-acre oyster lease outside of New Orleans. The spill has devastated her business.
“BP lied to the public,” Neville said. “I would like the world to know the truth about how BP is handling this disaster.”
Tripp Tolbert owns Ramada Resorts in Fort Walton Beach. He is currently entrenched in the round-and-round claims process. BP’s feel-good tourism campaigns do not put him at ease.
“As Mrs. Neville said, this is ridiculous,” Tolbert agreed. “It seems to me this has all been a PR stunt by Feinberg and the group.”