Consultant: Washington County is Deepwater Horizon ‘affected area’

Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 11:49 AM.

On those initial claims, in some cases BP was paying more than 10 times what the loss was worth, Bell said. Then BP realized it was putting too much money in the wrong hands.

Then the process went to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, under Kenneth Feinberg, and the GCCF turned down many claims and lost a lot of the paperwork that residents filed with the organization, Bell said. Soon, a federal lawsuit filed in Louisiana led to a settlement from BP in which $7 billion was made accessible to pay claims through the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center.

Likewise, the nation’s best economists were called upon to come up with a formula for calculating loss due to the oil spill and the resultant economic downturn — a formula that came out in a 1,000 page document, Bell said.

NWF Consulting came about as a company when a Santa Rosa County entrepreneur, Harrell Downey, tried to submit claims for his financial advising and real estate businesses and was denied by the GCCF.

Downey learned how to file a claim with the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center, using the complex formula, then began teaching others how to file a claim by holding seminars along the coast, Bell said. The resulting firm, NWA Consulting, became the top Deepwater claims experts in the country, he added.

“In the case of the first two programs, it was the case of the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse,” Bell said. With the settlement claims center, BP is no longer in charge of who can file.

Some businesses are, however, not allowed to file claims, including banks, financial advisors and BP gas stations. Most other businesses, however, can file a Deepwater Horizon claim if they can show that there was a downturn in profits in 2010.

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