BON SECOUR, Alabama – “It’s been a joke since day one.” Deborah Nelson had hope everything was going to be okay when Kenneth Feinberg took over the claims process.
In a Pensacola town hall meeting he said, “The Gulf Coast Claims Facility is offering to eligible claimants who document their claim 6 months, up to 6 months of payments.”
Nelson and her husband Johnny own “Our Mother”, one of only four boats in the Gulf of Mexico that exclusively fish for the deep water, royal red shrimp.
“It’s heartbreaking when you work your whole life shrimping and it’s not his fault he can’t go out there and they don’t want to pay,” says Nelson.
They did everything Feinberg told them to do and filed a 192 page claim. “All this right here is nothing but pier forms, tax papers and its everything they ask for,” she says.
So the Nelson’s went to the meeting in Orange Beach last week with Ken Feinberg and did exactly what he told them to do about their 612 thousand dollar claim and on Saturday, they got a check for 15 thousand 600 dollars.
“I called Johnny I said we rich baby we got our big check today but they forgot a couple of the zero’s.”
The Nelson’s got about two and a half cents for every dollar on their claim. “It’s 11 thousand dollars a month just for the boat note and the insurance. 15 thousand it’s gone,” says Nelson.
Last week in Orange Beach Feinberg told the crowd, “People are getting a check in the mail and they have no idea why they got this amount why they didn’t get more.” Nelson would like to know the answer to that question but she’s afraid she already does. “Maybe they got a deal with Feinenberger. The least you give em whatever you got left you’re going to get a certain percentage of that money when all this is over. That’s what it looks like to me.”
The good news is the Nelson’s boat is shrimping again.
In the meantime, Deborah called the claims office about the amount of the check and was told no one could explain why she got the amount she did but if she wasn’t happy with the amount she could go ahead and file for a final payment.
See video here: http://www.wkrg.com/gulf_oil_spill/article/pennies-on-the-dollar-for-bon-secour-shrimper/936821/Sep-23-2010_6-40-pm/