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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Obama administration not happy with BP claims czar Feinberg



The associate U.S. Attorney General has written a stern letter to BP claims czar Kenneth Feinberg saying the present pace of claims is "unacceptable" and directing his office to make whatever changes necessary to move things along.

The criticism of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is notable because it comes from within the Obama administration, which hand-picked Feinberg for the job. And it follows displeasure from Florida officials, including Gov. Charlie Crist, AG Bill McCollum and CFO Alex Sink.

"Your recent public statements have acknowledged that the process is more complicated and time-intensive than you had anticipated," associate AG Thomas Perrelli wrote. "I would reiterate to you, however, that the efficiency of the GCCF's review and payment process is not just a matter of fulfilling your own performance goals. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has disrupted the lives of thousands upon thousands of individuals, often cutting off the income on which they depend. Many of these individuals and businesses simply do not have the resources to get by while they await processing by the GCCF."

Amy Weiss, spokeswoman for Feinberg and the claims fund, said in a statement: "We received the letter and have been taking the necessary steps to accelerate paying claims. We have paid out as of last night $379,259,484 to 27,988 claimants in just 4 weeks."

[Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 5:31pm]


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