Editor’s Note: The following is an opinion piece by attorney Joe Rice, chief architect of the BP Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement.
BP has created a ticker for its State of The Gulf website entitled “Fraud Tally for Gulf Oil Spill Claims.” This ticker is visible on the home page of the website, which I believe was created by its aggressive and defensive PR machine to skirt paying the people of the Gulf for their grievances related to the 2010 disaster.
I have reviewed the data and am shocked at the lack of candor by BP. For BP to suggest that there are 132 reported fraud cases and 119 criminal convictions without making it perfectly clear that at least 90%, maybe even 100%, of these reported fraud cases and criminal prosecutions result from payments by the BP-operated Gulf Coast Claims Center, is unbelievable.
It mixes this fraud tally in with all of its complaints about the Deepwater Horizon Claims Settlement Office. The implication, by not disclosing that these were mostly fraud claims for payments made under the Gulf Coast Claims Center, which was operated by Mr. Feinberg under BP’s supervision, (the court found that BP was directly involved with the GCCF), is just an attempt to confuse and mislead.
I do not know why I am at all surprised because, in my opinion, most of BP’s advertisements and public statements are intended to be half-truths, confusing and misleading.
All of these details aside, where’s the tally for lives lost, humans and wildlife harmed and careers destroyed? These numbers continue to grow daily. That’s the real State of the Gulf.
I’ve said it many times, BP is a convicted felon and it’s time for BP to accept its responsibilities, do what’s right, do what it agreed to do and allow the Gulf to heal. Real people are still, four years later, suffering greatly. BP, it’s time you take a look in the mirror.
Several media outlets have questioned BP’s claims to date. Read more:
Feb. 23, 2014 – Los Angeles Times, BP gets slick in trying to undermine gulf oil spill settlement
Jan. 10, 2014 – Tampa Bay Times, Editorial: Don’t let BP back out on deal
Dec. 20, 2013 – Times-Picayune, BP attack on Emeril Lagasse was off base: Editorial
You might also be interested in another blog by Joe about the BP oil spill, Just when you think you have seen it all.