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CFO Alex Sink Calls on Feinberg to Revisit Gulf Claims Process to Fix Flawed Gulf Claims Process

8/23/2010

CONTACT: Jerri Franz 850-413-2842 or 904-610-1440
 
TALLAHASSEE — Florida CFO Alex Sink today sent a letter to Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the new Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), calling on him to rewrite the rules in favor of Florida’s small businesses who have been harmed by the oil spill, and also to do away with the requirement that Florida’s small business must re-file claims with the GCCF that have already been filed with BP.

“As you take over the claims process starting today, it appears that you have rejected my request in favor of an extremely restrictive view as to who is eligible for recovery,” CFO Sink wrote.  “In my opinion, the GCCF rules must be rewritten in favor of those who were harmed by this catastrophe, as opposed to those who caused it.”

A copy of the letter follows below:

August 23, 2010

Mr. Kenneth Feinberg
Willard Office Building
1455 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 390
Washington, DC 20004-1008

Dear Mr. Feinberg:

When we met last month in Destin, the first issue I raised with you was how critically important it was to develop a smooth transition plan from the BP claims process to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) process.  I encouraged you to develop a claims process that would be generous, responsive, and fair to all Floridians impacted by this oil spill.  As you take over the claims process starting today, it appears that you have rejected my offer and taken an extremely restrictive view as to who is eligible for recovery.  In my opinion, the GCCF rules must be rewritten in favor of those who were harmed by this catastrophe, as opposed to those who caused it.

While I understand that supporting documents for claims previously filed with BP will be transferred to the GCCF, I am extremely disappointed to learn that you are requiring businesses to also file an additional, newly-created 18-page form in order to have their requests considered.  This process is essentially making Florida’s business leaders re-file their claims.  Business owners will need to take additional time from trying to get their businesses back on track to prepare a new claim form, when they have already submitted a completed claim to BP.  I urge you to reconsider this requirement, which is onerous and inefficient. 

I must also express my disappointment that your newly released Protocol will not provide compensation for many Florida businesses that have been harmed as a result of BP’s negligence.  Floridians need relief, and the Protocol as outlined does not do enough to recognize the realities of Florida’s tourism-based economy and compensate the countless individuals and small businesses harmed as a result of the oil spill disaster.

You will recall that I brought with me to our meeting in Destin two small-business people from Northwest Florida who had both submitted claims to BP, Jeff Elbert and Allison Davenport.  Jeff and Allison joined me in representing the thousands of other small-business people in Florida who have been harmed by this disaster, and who are looking to BP to be made whole.  I fear that unless major changes are made to the GCCF process, that will never be the case.    
        
Sincerely,
 

Alex Sink

As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services.  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. Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.