CHALMETTE, La. – When they learned oil spill claims chief Ken Feinberg was not going to attend this meeting in Chalmette, the fishing community members who came here for help were not happy.
“I’m not surprised,” said Kurt Pannagl of Hopedale, who said his claim had been denied. “I mean he knows he’s not doing his job. He doesn’t want to face the music.”
“I think it’s absolutely horrible, because I wanted to lay eyes personally on the man that’s going to force me out of business,” said Cindy Barry of Sweetwater Marina in Delacroix.
“He agreed to return, but he put the stipulation that he wasn’t going to do a town hall format,” explained Parish President Craig Taffaro.
So they submitted 100 claims to be given to Feinberg, a 20-inch stack, and they asked their leaders to get answers from the claims czar when they met with him privately.
“He’s not accountable to not one single person,” said J.R. Dunham of Hopedale. “Who does he work for? He routinely lies to the media. I’ve been watching Bill Capo with the Sweetwater Marina deal. He just tells lies like it’s nothing.”
But suddenly, Feinberg showed up by mistake.
“Why aren’t you meeting with these people? I’ve been meeting with citizens of the Gulf from the day that I was appointed,” said a surprised Feinberg. “Now I’ve apparently got a meeting scheduled that is not with these people. I will come back as you know, every week if I have to.”
When asked why he wouldn’t do the meeting here, Feinberg said, “Thank you very much, I’ve got another schedule somewhere else, excuse me.”
And with that, Feinberg left, but Cindy Barry of Sweetwater Marina did at least get to meet him.
“He wasn’t supposed to come to the meeting, so if they can’t even get their schedule straight, how in the heck can they get anything else straight?” she said. “I went up to him, and I had to hand him a business card, and said Mr. Feinberg, we’re about to go under.”
But most only got to watch Feinberg on closed circuit television as he talked to parish leaders and representatives of fishermen.
“You get frustrated, you know. I’m at the end of my rope here, man,” said Robert Campo of Shell Beach. “This guy here is, they need to fire his ***, and get somebody else.”
Parish leaders are hopeful Feinberg will offer help.