Casino workers say BP claims process still unfair - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Casino workers say BP claims process still unfair

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -

By Al Showers – bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Gulf Coast casino workers staged their second protest against Kenneth Feinberg's Gulf Coast Claims Facility Monday, this time picketing the office on Highway 90 in Bay St. Louis.

The more than 20 workers who showed up said they're tired of receiving denial letters for claims they believe are legitimate.

"The denial letter that they sent doesn't say that we don't have losses, it says that BP doesn't feel that those losses were from the oil spill," casino employee Colleen Saurage said. "But we have losses into the thousands of dollars. I have a loss of nearly $9,000 to date and they want to say it was because of the economy and not due to the fact that thousands of tourists during our best months did not come down to the Gulf Coast."

"It's unfair that we submit all the paper work that we're required to and we give them our personal books and we have lost a lot of money here," casino employee Sheena Green said.

When asked just how much she's lost, Green replied, "I would say an average of $50 to $75 a day, based on records from last year."

A spokeswoman from Feinberg's New York office told WLOX News casino workers can apply for a final, or interim payment after November 23, if they were denied an emergency payment. But she said they will need to prove their economic harm is directly related to the oil spill.

During the last protest, Feinberg himself told WLOX NEWS claims from casino workers would be considered on a case by case basis.   

"That may be what he told you, but so far it hasn't happened," Saurage said. "In fact, casino workers continue to get denial letters. I know several casino workers who have gotten denial letters just in this past week."

Saurage and the other casino employees vow to keep fighting for their lost tips and wages.

"Nobody is trying to gain something they didn't lose. These are all legitimate claims. We can prove what we lost. And if he can't take the time to look at our claims individually, instead of just denying everybody, then we have a problem with that. And we're going to let him know we have a problem with that. And if he thinks we're just going to go away or get distracted or not go further than this, he's wrong. This is just our first demonstration. There will be more. He's going to have to pay attention to us."  

Feinberg's spokeswoman said so far $2 billion in claims have already been paid to Gulf Coast residents.

By the way, one of the casino workers protesting in Bay St. Louis Monday told WLOX News her claim was paid, but she attended the protest to support her co-workers.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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