Following up on my post yesterday on inconsistencies in the Gulf oil spill claims process, I thought I’d share this email I received from Gary Eichler, who runs a charter fishing company in Naples, Fla.
We are a charter fishing/eco-tour company in Naples, Fla. While we received four claim checks through our local BP Claims office beginning in May, the experience to date under the Feinberg regime has been a disaster. We submitted paperwork under the GCCF guidelines in September and 57 days later our claim is still under review. It has been escalated no less than six times due to the tentative nature of our business. Still no sense of urgency on their behalf.
Meanwhile, charter captains fishing out of the same marina where we have our 3 boats have been paid. Fishing businesses located 25 minutes from where we are were paid last week, one guide received a check for $40,000. These people submitted their paperwork after we did.
I had NBC and ABC come down and do a feature on us yesterday which aired three times on the evening news broadcasts. Ironically, I received a phone call from a GCCF Supervisor not 60 seconds after the first one aired at 5:00. Even with that she could only tell me that our claim was under review and she couldn’t give me a date when it would be completed. Same story, different day. It has turned into a case of cruel and unusual punishment.
A friend of mine owns a restaurant on Sanibel Island which is a gorgeous barrier island about an hour north of Naples. Although her employess have had claims paid along with neighboring restaurants and a jewelry store, she is being denied.
The cruelest part of her story is that she received a phone call from a GCCF Supervisor last Friday stating that her claim had been approved. They called back on Saturday to tell her that she was on a priority list to have funds wired to her account on Monday. At noon on Monday, after the funds had not been received she called the supervisor and was told that her claim had been DENIED. She is being evicted from her restaurant property at 5:00 today.
This process is the worst experience of my business life. Out of control, inept and run with no rhyme or reason. Zero transparency, cannot speak with anyone to discuss the specifics of our case.
The email has been edited for clarity.