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Asian-American hoteliers disrupt Feinberg hearing, walk out

by Dara Kam | February 18th, 2011

Shouting “He lies,” more than a dozen Asian-American hotel owners from Florida’s Gulf Coast walked out of a meeting this morning disrupting BP claims czar Ken Feinberg testimony before a critical House panel digging into his handling of the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

The group then stood outside the House Economic Affairs Committee meeting room and broke into the civil rights song “We Shall Overcome,” led by Art Rocker of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with updated lyrics blasting Feinberg.

More than 85 percent of the 700 Asian-American hotel owners in Florida have not received any payments from Feinberg, forcing many of them on the brink of foreclosure, Pensacola hotelier Nash Patel said.

Nash and leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference met with Feinberg but have had no success in having their claims resolved despite promises from the lawyer whose firm earns $850,000 a month to administer the BP money.

Meanwhile, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association has reported glowingly about Feinberg’s settling of its association members’ claims.

“We’re certainly not,” Patel said.

Without saying Feinberg was discriminating against them, Patel said the differences bear scrutiny.

“Is it because of who we are? We have to look at that,” he said.

The group, a loose-knit coalition of 4,000 Asian-American hotel owners – many of them with roots in the Middle East – plans to set up a tent city outside BP headquarters in Houma, La., on March 14.

Rocker said they plan to stay for a week or until BP officials agree to pay the claimants.

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7 Responses to “Asian-American hoteliers disrupt Feinberg hearing, walk out”

  1. Kim Moore Says:

    Good for these folks is what I have to say. I’m proud of them. At least they have the audacity to protest.

    My Grandfather was Good Ole America Boy and he was a welder on the original Gulf pipeline. Seeing what the oil industry has done over the past 50 years I know he is rolling in his grave seeing how bp has destroyed this region.

    Just like Katrina the big wigs get their hands on the pie and the people who lives are being destroyed are left out in the cold… it’s wrong!

  2. John Jacobs Says:

    im glad! feinberg needs to go! we need to make more noise and bring attention to the injustice towards the businesses and individuals of the Gulf Coast.

  3. Perfect Example Says:

    Feinberg is Obama’s Do-Boy. He’s being rewarded quite handsomely. The heat doesn’t bother him.

  4. John Henry Says:

    BP better start coming off the money. People are really hurting and we may get a good summer this year but after people come down and swim is the Gulf with all the oil and chemicals or eat bad seafood. It is only going to take a few people to get sick and we all may as well move there will be no business after that for a long time. And you all know that is going to happen. There may even be people making claims even if they are not sick and that will put us out of business. We are not ever going to swin in it or ever eat out of it. We live on the Florida Gulf coast and we are seeing allot of weird things. They are still cleaning oil off our beaches and will be every time the Gulf is stired up. Our eyes burn constantly. We want out of here now but we cannot. BP is not making any offers to property values or loss. Were all stressed their not paying for that. If we lose our business whom of them will care? You have heard it all before. BP is getting most of their money back in tax breaks. All the oil companys are trying to drill more in the gulf with compleat tax breaks and we get no royalty’s.

  5. John Henry Says:

    One more thing BP makes claims the oild has been cleaned up. Go to WEB AND TYPE BP buried oil blue mountain beach. Walton County has found large amounts of oil buried on the white beach. There is oil coming to shore all up and down the coast. Maybe this year we will not have any business either.

  6. Ash Patel Says:

    I feel that the author has made an error in the article by mentioning that the Asian American Hotel Owners Association is 4,000 strong where this is an association with 10,000 members of whom the majority are owners of hotels and motels (small business owners). Secondly, the origins are not of those from the Middle East but rather from Asian Indian origins. Another fact that would would be a nice addition to the article would be the profit BP made while all these hard working small businessman and their employees have suffered major setbacks. No one seems to care about the jobs lost due to this spill and the financial hardship the employees have had to face due to BP.

  7. Nick Zaver Says:

    It’s sad how Kenneth Feinberg makes promises and does not keep them. He does not know that perception is reality. Ash made a good comment that we are not of Middle Eastern decent. Majority of us are of Asain decent. Obama’s administration needs to do something as soon as possible.

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