$60 million in oil spill fund to be set aside for real estate brokers and agents


MOBILE, Ala. — Oil spill claims czar Ken Feinberg will set aside up to $60 million for real estate agents and brokers, according to Randy McKinney.

McKinney is a state school board member and owns Realty Executives in Gulf Shores. He has been involved in negotiations with Feinberg on how the real estate community will be compensated for the decline in sales activity along the coast following the April 20 oil spill.

Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility starts Monday. It takes over the claims process from BP PLC, the majority owner of the leaking well. Feinberg today announced the emergency protocol for claims in advance of the facility’s opening.

With regard to real estate, the protocol speaks mainly of damage or destruction: “Who may make a claim? Any Individual or Business that owns or leases real or personal property physically damaged or destroyed as a result of the Spill. In order to avoid duplication of claims, an owner or lessee of the property must provide notice to all others with an ownership or lease interest in the property of the intent to file a claim. If duplicate claims are received, the GCCF will determine the appropriate claimant.”

The New York Times reported today that the $60 million for brokers and agents will not be dispersed by Feinberg, but instead by the National Association of Realtors and state and local chapters in affected areas.

McKinney said those details are still in flux.

Martha Taylor, executive director of the Baldwin County Association of Realtors, said the New York Times article was incorrect — neither the national, state or local Realtors’ associations will have anything to do with dispersing the funds.

She said a third-party will likely be chosen to hand out the funds.

“I’m glad,” she said. “I don’t want to have anything to do with distirbuting it.”

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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