Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said this morning that oil spill claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg has failed to keep his promises of increasing transparency, paying claims promptly and sending more staff to the Gulf Coast to handle claims.
She said Feinberg told her in a meeting that he would begin paying claims this weekend, and dispatch local claims processors to Florida within 10 days. She recalled sitting in on a meeting with Feinberg in December when he promised to beef up his local staffs to help claimants navigate the process.
“That was not done, nor has it been completed,” she said.
Echoing a demand made by her predecessor, Bill McCollum, Bondi said claimants should have a single person who handles their claims, instead of calling the facility and dealing with a different person each time.
“We want time frames,” she said. “We want deadlines.”
BP has recently complained that the claims process has been too generous to claimants. Bondi said it’s hard to make any judgements about how generous the claims have been, because Feinbrerg has not disclosed how claims are evaluated.
That has to change, she said. She wants Feinberg to appoint an independent auditor, and said he was open to the idea but did not make a firm commitment.
Feinberg, who is currently testifying before the House Economic Affairs Committee, acknowledged that transparency has been his “Achilles heal” in the claims process so far. He also said his final rules for evaluating claims — the revised version of a preliminary draft released earlier this month — could be released as early as today.