One Business Owner’s Struggle With the Oil Spill Claims Process
Mark Gentry, of Panama City, Fla., is in danger of losing his marine supply business and his home. The Gulf oil spill “completely disrupted’ his business and, by extension, his life.
More than 60 days after applying for aid first to BP and then to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, run by independent administrator Kenneth Feinberg, Gentry has yet to receive any compensation for his losses. A Sept. 15 letter to Feinberg from Gentry’s lawyer, obtained by The Washington Independent, underscores the tough times many in the Gulf are facing in the aftermath of the oil spill. It also underscores the importance of speeding up the claims process, an issue I’ve written about in a number of stories in recent weeks.
According to the letter:
Mr. Gentry is in desperate straights and his wife (whose father started the business) is distraught. At this point, his business revenue is virtually non-existent and he suffered significant losses during the summer fishing season since his customers had all converted their vessels for operation in the VOO program [the Vessels of Opportunity program paid boat owners to help clean up the spill and was ended today] and did not need to purchase commercial fishing supplies. Mr. Gentry had only limited success in providing marine products to BP in connection with the remediation.