Claims Facility Agent Says To Claimant: “Off the record…I would suggest you act as if no money is coming”


After what, frankly, felt like a slow start, regional TV news appears to be doing its level best to keep an eye on the claims process. Now we are seeing report after report indicating that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility program isn’t working for the vast majority of BP spill victims.

And some of these are pretty simple claims. How about a laundry business that caters to campers who didn’t come this summer because of the spill? One with documentation and a clear track record of lost revenue?

Well, Debbie Williams at News 5, WKRG in Alabama has a story where just such a victim quotes a Claims Facility agent saying: “Off the record… I would suggest you act as if no money is coming.” What? It’s incredibly hard to believe that a comment like that would be uttered by somebody inside the Claims Facility to somebody fighting desperately to keep her business afloat – to a person with clear documentation of damages.

But that comment, as unbelievable as it is, sheds some light on what is likely to be the next phase of Big Oil’s take-no-prisoners strategy: Create winners and losers within a community – apparently at random – and then let rumors and counter-rumors create high levels of anxiety and frustration. Keep the “promise” of relief out there so people keep quiet and play along, hoping to win the claims “lottery.” At least that’s what people from Alaska report took place during the Valdez disaster.

Very discouraging story, except that the area’s media is stepping up – big time.

See this report from WKRG here:

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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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