Did BP claims czar snub Senate Ag committee?by Dara Kam | April 11th, 2011
BP claims czar Ken Feinberg didn’t show up at a Senate Agriculture Committee this afternoon, although he was scheduled (sort of) to be there.
Feinberg’s last appearance before state lawmakers was in March, when he took heat for continued complaints about delays paying Panhandle claims. Feinberg, in charge of BP’s $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility, also met then with Attorney General Pam Bondi and dined with Gov. Rick Scott at the mansion.
Senate Ag chairman Gary Siplin said he’s been e-mailing Feinberg for weeks trying to get him to testify but was unsuccessful.
Instead, Feinberg sent a letter, which Siplin had staff read into the record, saying he’s booked up and won’t be back in the Sunshine State until May.
Feinberg wrote that he is “not reluctant to visit Florida to discuss the ongoing efforts of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility” and pledged to meet with Siplin at his next meeting in Florida. But Siplin’s committee likely won’t meet again before the legislative session ends May 6.
“The bottom line is we do have subpoena power. I’m not saying we should resort to that but I think it’s crucial that we get him here,” Siplin, D-Orlando said.
Siplin’s staff suggested getting Feinberg to testify during a workshop for an interim report on the impact of last year’s BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
That’s not good enough for Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla.
“Frankly I found it insulting to you as the chairman of this committee that this man who’s supposed to be taking care of Floridians…cares no more about their welfare and the restoration of their good fortune than to snub this committee,” Hays said. “And not only that, he’s indicating his lack of concern…by not coming to the state until after April. What good is it going to do to subpoena somebody who doesn’t care?”
Meanwhile, BP officials and Gov. Rick Scott announced today the oil company is giving the seven Panhandle counties hardest hit by the oil spill $30 million for marketing as the region’s summer tourist season kicks up.