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Oil spill claims confusion a concern for local business

4 years ago June 30, 2010 Jun 30, 2010 Wednesday, June 30 2010 Wednesday, June 30, 2010 9:17:16 PM EDT in News
Source: WBRZ

Questions surround the oil spill claims process that's already paid out $130 million.

Claimants want to know where their money is. Congress wants to know who qualifies for what money. The man in charge of the whole thing is only promising to know soon.

Superior Bait and Tackle owner Mark Matthews is one of those claimants.

"Our sales in May were about 50% down, and June, so far, looks to be about 70% down," said Matthews.

Because the oil spill has got a handle on his sales, Matthews has had to rely on a lifeline through the oil spill claims system.

"They paid what they were supposed to in May," said Matthews. "However, so far in June, they haven't paid everything."

Some along the Gulf Coast say they haven't been cast that line at all, and they're turning to Ken Feinberg for answers.

"I understand that you only want what you're entitled to as an unfortunate victim of this spill," said Feinberg.

Feinberg, who is directing how BP's $20 billion escrow fund is spent, tells Congress deciding which businesses are entitled to how much is a tough call.

"I now have discovered, I didn't realize this until yesterday, but the moratorium claims will fall under my jurisdiction," said Feinberg on Wednesday.

Despite the uncertainty, some Congress members are clear on what they think should happen.

"I expect that they will receive adequate compensation so they can survive, yet, another disaster in the Gulf," said Congressman Sam Graves, R-Missouri.

Matthews says he's clear on this: his business not only needs the help, but deserves it.

"We sell the toys for the park, and they closed the park, so yeah, I can't imagine why we wouldn't qualify," said Matthews.

Feinberg promises to know which categories of business qualify for claims in a matter of weeks.

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