Somebody was bound to get the scoop on what BP is paying Kenneth Feinberg, since it’s been months since he told a congressional hearing that he’d release that figure “in weeks.” Big kudos to the AP, which is reporting that “Kenneth Feinberg and his law firm have been paid more than $2.5 million in 3½ months to administer the $20 billion fund set up by BP Plc to compensate victims of its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Citing a report from a former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the AP says BP agreed to pay Mr. Feinberg’s flat fee of $850,000 per month from mid-June through Oct. 1. At least the Post also notes that Mr. Feinberg was “chosen by BP and President Barack Obama,” which is better than many reports that omit the oil company’s role in picking its pay czar. Mr. Mukasey says the pay is reasonable for the “demanding work.” Tell that to the victims of the spill who are losing their homes, their businesses – their hope and self-worth.
My take? Well, a report from a former U.S. Attorney General is a good start, but we have no real idea if this is the total compensation package – personally, I have my doubts. But the AP has scored first and we can expect the media herd to come rumbling in on this one. What will it be called: “Paygate?” And even now, you can feel researchers looking up the fact that Mr. Feinberg felt the top pay for Wall Street execs was $500,000, with any more tied to performance.
But Mr. Feinberg himself, on a “60 Minutes” profile last week, for example, has acknowledged that one of his biggest challenges is to get people to believe he’s not working for BP. Well, now the masses have more than 850,000 reasons each month to believe that he is indeed a BP partner. Right now, the need for total transparency could not be greater.
A side note: It is being reported that Ken Feinberg’s brother, David, is also on the BP payroll.
© Smith Stag, LLC 2010 – All Rights Reserved