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CFO Alex Sink Calls on Feinberg to Clarify Claims Process

7/21/2010

CONTACT: Kevin Cate, 850-413-2842

TALLAHASSEE— Florida CFO Alex Sink today sent a letter to Kenneth Feinberg, the Independent Claims Facility Administrator for BP’s Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill, requesting that Feinberg clarify his position on whether individuals or business owners will be required to waive their legal right to additional compensation in order to receive payment of their claims.

“With millions of gallons of oil discharged in the Gulf of Mexico, the people who live and work along the Gulf Coast cannot know with any certainty today what the full extent of their damages may be in the future,” said CFO Alex Sink.  “In order to ensure that the claims process is fair, the payment of any Floridian’s claim, including a final claim, should not be conditioned on the waiver of the claimant’s rights under state or federal law.”

A copy of the letter follows below:

July 21, 2010

Kenneth R. Feinberg
Feinberg Rozen, LLP
The Willard Office Building
1455 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 390
Washington, D.C.  20004-1008

Dear Mr. Feinberg

Thank you for taking the time to brief me and my staff in our telephone conference this week on your plans to implement the Gulf Coast Claims Facility in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this critical matter with you, and I look forward to meeting with you in person on July 28 in Destin, Florida.

I am writing to request that you clarify your position as to whether individuals or business owners will be required to execute a waiver in order to receive payment of their claims.   With millions of gallons of oil discharged in the Gulf of Mexico, the people who live and work along the Gulf Coast cannot know with any certainty today what the full extent of their damages may be in the future.   In order to ensure that the claims process is fair, the payment of any Floridian’s claim, including a final claim, should not be conditioned on the waiver of the claimant’s rights under state or federal law.

As you know, many individual Floridians and Florida small businesses have sustained significant economic damages as a result of this catastrophe.  I have called on the Florida Legislature to work immediately this summer to provide broader economic relief under Florida law to those affected by the oil spill.  I understand that you will look to Florida law for guidance in resolving Floridians’ claims, and I appreciate your willingness to consider any new laws enacted by the Florida Legislature this summer as you strive to make whole all Floridians affected by this disaster.

Thank you for your consideration of these issues.  I look forward to meeting you next week.

Sincerely,


Alex Sink

cc: The Honorable Charlie Crist
 The Honorable Bill McCollum

As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services and serves as the State Fire Marshal.  A successful businesswoman with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO.  As CFO, Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful government spending, cracking down on financial and insurance fraud and reforming the state government's contracting practices.