CFO Alex Sink Urges BP to Pay Floridians' Claims
TALLAHASSEE – Florida CFO Alex Sink today sent a letter to BP Deputy Incident Commander Mary Shafer-Malicki urging BP to do the right thing and revisit the company’s decision not to pay May claims from Florida businesses on the basis that oil had not yet reached Florida’s beaches.
“I am deeply disappointed to learn that BP has gone back on its word to the people of Florida and decided not to honor May claims made by Florida business owners and residents,” said CFO Alex Sink. “BP’s widely broadcast television ads proclaim that BP will ‘make it right.’ Only making part of it right isn’t enough. I strongly urge you to revisit this decision and ensure that Florida’s businesses are given the compensation they are owed for the month of May, when many experienced significant losses through no fault of their own.”
On July 8, CFO Sink called on Gulf Coast Claims Facility Administrator Kenneth Feinberg for full accountability to Florida’s impacted businesses in the new claims process scheduled to go into effect later this month. On July 12, CFO Sink urged House Speaker Cretul and Senate President Atwater to include protections for Florida business in the claims process in the July 20-23 special session.
A copy of the letter follows below:
August 17, 2010
Ms. Mary Shafer-Malicki, BP
State Emergency Operations Center
2555 Shumard Oak Blvd.
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Dear Ms. Shafer-Malicki:
I am deeply disappointed to learn that BP has gone back on its word to the people of Florida and decided that it may not honor May claims made by Florida businesses.
Even though oil did not physically damage Northwest Florida’s beaches in May, the area’s hotels, restaurants, and other tourism-dependent businesses, as well as those businesses that rely on the resources of the Gulf, saw severe economic losses as a result of the BP spill. You will recall that news coverage of the spill projected the oil flow heading toward our state, and even moving into the loop current, which would bring it down our Gulf Coast and around to the Florida Keys.
As you know well, news of the spill and these projections quickly spread globally, causing families and other summer travelers to choose non-Florida locations for their vacation destinations. This change crippled the tourism season for Northwest Florida and eliminated the revenues that come with it. Make no mistake: This loss is BP’s responsibility.
From the beginning, representatives from BP promised Floridians the company would pay all legitimate claims and “make it right.” It is now painfully apparent that the checks BP has been saying for months are “in the mail” were, in fact, never coming. Florida’s small businesses have been counting on these payments to help save the businesses built over several decades by generations of families.
I had great hope that with Mr. Dudley at the helm, BP would really make things right. I strongly urge you to revisit this decision and ensure that Florida’s businesses are given the compensation they are owed for the month of May, when many experienced significant losses through no fault of their own.
I will continue to hold both BP and the federal government accountable to keep their word and make Floridians whole.
Cc: Kenneth Feinberg