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Business owner says oil spill claim caught in "Catch-22"

4 years ago April 25, 2011 Apr 25, 2011 Monday, April 25 2011 Monday, April 25, 2011 9:15:18 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Ashley Rodrigue

BATON ROUGE-  Some companies in the oil industry haven't seen a dime of BP claims money.

They're in a "catch-22" as lawyers argue over if they lost business because of the spill, or due to the deep-water drilling moratorium that followed.

BP set up a $20 billion fund for people affected by the spill.  Companies that couldn't do work and employees who lost pay checks could file for the money.

Some got a pay-out, others didn't.

When asked why, Claims Administrator Ken Feinberg told In-Depth Offshore Technologies Owner Hesham El Abrikgy his company is a victim of the moratorium, and for now, can't be paid until that changes.

"What caused all of it, the oil spill," said El Abrikgy, "This is the bottom line, so what caused everything around it, what caused the collapse of our industry, the oil spill."

What Hesham El Abrikgy says is even more appalling is that after he was told his claim was on hold, he was made a final payout offer the next day, for a penny on every dollar he's lost, and he's lost millions.

"They come back with a ridiculous offer I was shocked, I could not respond that day, I was so mad," said El Abrikgy.

El Abrikgy is now appealing that offer, and even after getting to the front of the line for help, only to be put on hold, he's hoping to go higher up the chain of command to stay out of court.

"It's job security for lawyers and accountants, not job security for us," said El Abrikgy, "It's a fight for the rest of our lives here."

Workers in the oil industry have gotten some claims relief. 

A $100 million fund to cover individual losses from the moratorium has paid out more than $5 million.  A Baton Rouge organization is managing the money and is taking applications now for a second round of claims. 

Go to our Links page for details on how to apply.

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