DESTIN – One month ago today, the man in charge of oil spill claims promised quicker and bigger payments.
But, a local business owner says he’s still waiting for a check, and now, it may be too late.
Channel three’s Laura Hussey explains.
Completely empty and dead silent. It’s not exactly what you’d expect in an auto repair shop, but it’s how it is here at Tom Honaker Automotive. These five invoices represent all the jobs they’ve had this month. Their first customer didn’t even come in ’til the 18th.
Scott Tousignant “We’re packing up. If we don’t hear something tomorrow, next day, we’re packing up so that we can be ready.”
Scott Tousignant used to work at Honaker Automotive for a paycheck.
For the last five months, he’s been working for free, trying to help his lifelong friends fight the impact of the oil spill.
Tom Honaker “Basically our business fell off a cliff. Nobody’s got any money around here, so nobody’s getting their cars repaired.”
Tom Honaker says business at the Destin garage he owns with his brother will is now down ninety percent.
They filed with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility on August 24.
Since then, they’ve been in limbo.
Tom “We can’t seem to get any information out of anybody. The website shows ‘under review’. That’s the only thing we can get.”
Numerous visits with local claims reps haven’t helped. Honaker says they aren’t given access to information either.
The shop hasn’t made operating expenses in the last four months.
If a check doesn’t appear this week, it’s over for this family business.
Tom Honaker “Uh….we shut down. We’ve been in business for over nine years, approaching ten, and this is way beyond anything we can deal with.”
In Destin, Laura Hussey, Channel 3 News.
A rep for the Gulf Coast Claims Facility says they can’t comment on individual cases.
But, she says of forty-eight thousand claims currently under review, only eight thousand were made before October first.