Wake up and good morning. Looks like the landmark Loews Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach is tired of waiting for BP to make good on a $5 million claim for lost business from the 2010 Gulf oil spill. So the Don CeSar's hired Houston attorney and pit bull in BP litigation Tony Buzbee (photo below) of The Buzbee Law Firm to press BP in court.
The Don says BP reneged on an agreement to pay $5 million for it to release all other claims for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP this week responded to AP saying the hotel's claim was going through the "standard appeal process" in the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. BP spokesman Tom Mueller is quoted saying he was "disappointed" the hotel filed suit rather than allowing the claim to be fully reviewed.
Other area beach resorts felt the sting of the oil spill aftermath and did something about it. Within days of the spring 2010 oil spill, calls from reservation holders started to come in to the Alden Beach Resort & Suites (photo, right), operations vice president Tony Satterfield told the Tampa Bay Business Journal here. Alden owner Gary Renfrow said in the fall of 2010 that he had lost more than $300,000 in profits since the spill because tourists thought there was oil on the beach even though we never saw a drop. A WTSP Channel 10 story in October 2010 on the Buzbee law firm web site says BP paid Renfrow's claim.
By the end of 2010, according to this Tampa Bay Times story, at least half of 15 large hotels from Clearwater Beach to St. Pete Beach were paid compensation from the BP fund, says Keith Overton, chief financial officer at the 800-room TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach. The company received $1.3 million, some of which went to owners of condo hotel units managed by the TradeWinds. (Earlier, in the summer of 2010, BP denied the TradeWinds claims saying the resort was too far removed from the spill's effects to qualify. At that time, there was widespread debate over who deserved compensation from the spill.)
If the Don's claim against BP comes through, it will be one of the bigger and later ones to arrive on the Tampa Bay area beachfront.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times
Posted by Robert Trigaux at 7:19:20 am on January 27, 2012