By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Rep. Jo Bonnor (R- Mobile) says that he welcomes the decision to appoint an independent audit of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF).
The U.S. Justice Department has announced that the department has appointed an independent auditor to evaluate the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Congressman Jo Bonnor announced that he supports the decision to perform the audit. Rep. Bonnor said, “During his visit to Alabama in late June, I asked Attorney General Eric Holder for an audit of the GCCF. Furthermore, the Justice Department funding legislation approved by Congress in November also included my request for the GCCF audit.”
“For nearly a year and a half, thousands of coastal residents and business owners have struggled with a failed claims system that has arbitrarily awarded payments and subjected claimants to lengthy delays without explanation. All of these people deserve to know how Mr. Feinberg has been conducting his claims operations.”
“I look forward to monitoring the progress of the audit and join thousands on the coast in awaiting its results,” said Rep. Bonnor.
The Justice Department made public the decision to order the audit when it released a letter from Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli naming an independent auditor and directing them to immediately begin work on the audit. Association General Thomas Perrelli noted that the auditor’s work will be “overseen and directed by the Department of Justice” although Mr. Feinberg has agreed that the cost of the audit will be paid for by the GCCF. The independent audit is to be conducted by Anthony Lendez and Carl Pegola with CDO Consulting on Park Avenue in New York City and by Kevin Hubbard with BDO Consulting in Houston, Texas.
Following the explosion of the Deep Water Horizon Oil Rig and the release of 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Administration demanded that British Petroleum (BP) relinquish control of the claims process to an independent authority, the GCCF. President Barack Obama and BP Chairman agreed on appointing Kenneth R. Feinberg to direct the independent $20 billion claims fund. Mr. Feinberg previously has served as Special Master of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, the Chief Administrator of the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, and was previously appointed by President Obama’s Treasury Department to be the Special Master for Executive Compensation to set executive pay for corporate America.
Many Gulf Coast residents and businesses have since expressed their dissatisfaction with how the claims process has been handled by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Meanwhile, Mr. Feinberg’s firm is reportedly being paid $1,250,000 a month to administer the GCFF.
Representative Bonnor is the Chairman of the House Ethics Committee. Bonnor is also on the House Appropriations Committee where he serves on the Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee; the Defense subcommittee; and, the Financial Services subcommittee. Alabama’s District One consists of all or part of Mobile, Baldwin, Washington, Monroe, Escambia, and Clarke counties.