BALDWIN COUNTY, Alabama (WALA) – IS THE TASK FORCE COMING? – On November 18, after receiving numerous complaints and scathing criticism, claims administrator Ken Feinberg made a promise that he would have a claims task force on the coast in two weeks. The deadline is Thursday and FOX10 News has learned Feinberg will meet that deadline and return to the Gulf Coast.
Harold Hannah and Patti Wooley say their business, Sunscape Rentals in Gulf Shores, may not survive the winter. Money has run out, and they have no income.
“We don’t have any money to spend on advertising and we, starting today, have laid ourselves off. It’s serious,” Wooley said.
Wooley says they did receive an emergency payment from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, but they were only paid half of what they claimed. It’s not enough to get them through the winter.
“We’re tired and it’s hard to come in here everyday and carry on business,” said Wooley.
HELP ON THE WAY?
On November 18 Claims Administrator Ken Feinberg said he would have a task force on the Gulf Coast in two weeks to straighten out the problems. That deadline is Wednesday. Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon, an outspoken critic of the claims process, says Feinberg’s program can’t handle claims of tourism businesses.
“A manufacturing plant that makes a widget 12 months out of the year and makes the same amount of widgets year-around is nothing like a tourism industry that generates all it’s revenue in 14 weeks,” Kennon said.
Kennon says Feinberg needs to have people on the ground to sort out claims. He says he’s had a contact with Feinberg’s office and he’s hopeful help is coming.
“He seems to be responding,” Kennon said. “He seems to be trying to get some people on the ground down here, it’s not happening as fast as we would like, but I think that they are setting up a task force.”
FOX10 News learned Wednesday afternoon that Feinberg will be meeting with the task force members in Gulf shores Thursday morning.
Claims victims like Wooley are scared to get their hopes up.
“Every time we hear something like that it’s encouraging, but if it doesn’t happen, it’s another setback,” said Wooley.
LOOKING FOR ANSWERS
Once again, Senator Shelby’s office confirmed Feinberg will be coming to Gulf Shores Thursday morning. We’re told he’ll have a closed door meeting with members of the newly-appointed task force.