Bait shop owner says business too new for full BP claim payment - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Bait shop owner says business too new for full BP claim payment

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - When a coast man decided to turn entrepreneur, he said he had no idea the timing of his business venture would become a major issue. Roger Burklow opened his bait shop right before the explosion at BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Although BP is paying claims for business losses, Burklow said he can't prove what he deserves to paid for a business that never had a chance to take off.

Crabby's Bait and Tackle started serving customers on April 18th of this year. Two days later the Deepwater Horizon site exploded and millions of gallons of oil began spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. As more and more waters closed to fishermen, the owner saw his new business sinking.

"Business has probably been about 20 percent of what it should be mostly because of the oil spill of course," said Roger Burklow, owner. "What they did is they knocked a lot of the people that provide live bait out of business. So when you can't get live bait, it's kind of hard to have a bait business."

Like so many others Burklow filed a claim for compensation from BP. However, he said getting what he feels is a fair amount has been difficult. Burklow said he's received half of what other bait shop owners tell him they're being paid. He said the reason is BP's policy of comparing business revenues before and after the oil spill.

"I talked to BP and told them what I thought it would do and what I've heard other businesses of this nature have done," Burklow said. "They said they can't go on speculation. They have to have documentation."

He said, "Of course, I don't have documentation because I'm brand new. So they've continually denied most of my claim. They're very slow about giving out any money because of the lack of previous history."

Burklow said his two employees are in the same boat. Without a history of income, he said BP denied their claims all together.

"It's been a struggle," he said. "Three of us work it. None of us has gotten paid. We're all working just to keep it going and trying to weather out this oil spill."

He said all that can save his business now is for the oil to be cleaned up and for more people to start fishing again.

WLOX asked BP Spokesperson Lisa Houghton about the company's claims policy regarding new businesses.

"Anyone who may have started a business in the weeks prior to the incident, they're not going to have the same documentation. We recognize that," said Houghton. "People can show us business plans of what they expected to make or what similar businesses would have made".

Those in charge of a $20 billion fund BP has set aside to pay oil spill losses say they should be ready to start making payments early next month.

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