AG meets with Houma businesses over disputed BP contract wages
The Louisiana Attorney General's office confirmed an article posted on HoumaToday.com which said that attorneys working for AG Buddy Caldwell met with business owners in regards to alleged non-payment of BP contracts.
According to the report, Norby Chabert, D-Houma, requested representatives from Caldwell's office to investigate allegagtions from business owners in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes that BP has failed to pay up to $3 million in contract work.
Kimberly Chauvin of the Mariah Jade Shrimp Co. submitted paperwork on behalf of more than 25 boats. In a phone interview with the Louisiana Record, she called BP's handling of contracted fishermen "a joke."
Chauvin claims BP has kept fishermen from returning to the water by not sending out letters of termination and releasing them from their contracts. She also estimates BP owes up to $4 million in unpaid wages and should pay for repairs and full decontamination of boats contracted after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
"I just met with the Attorney General's office," she said. "I gave them five to six inches of paperwork to sift through."
HoumaToday.com reported that other fishermen present at the meeting did not want to be identified. Chauvin said that Chabert was a "go-between" for her and other commercial fishermen to speak with the AG's office.
Louisiana AG Public Information Officer Amanda Larkins said, "The Attorney General's Office did participate in the meeting with Senator [Norby] Chabert, but because it involves an ongoing matter, I cannot offer any additional comment at this time."
Chauvin said she was given no indication by the state attorneys about how they would pursue the matter but she said she and other fishermen were prepared to seek private counsel should the state not pursue a case.
Several messages left at Chabert's offices were not returned.
HoumaToday.com quotes Chabert as saying that "the AG's office seemed to be wanting to go after this extremely aggressively."