NEW ORLEANS – The administrator of the claims program that reimburses those affected by the 2010 BP Oil Spill has denied allegations by BP that his office is in disarray and subject to fraudulent activities.
Patrick Juneau, the administrator of the Court Supervised Settlement Program (CSSP), was mandated by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to respond to the temporary stop order request on BP’s claim that “systemic fraud” exists within the program.
The CSSP is tasked with providing damage claims to residents and businesses claiming they were negatively affected by the oil spill.
BP requested a temporary stop to the claim process after it was revealed that some of those serving on the appeals panel that processes the claims had conflicts of interest.
In his response, Juneau said he was made aware of three appeals panelists who had conflicts of interest and was in the process helping them resolve those conflicts and had also, with BP and the plaintiffs’ steering committee, requested an audit of the program.
Juneau's filing states he was not responsible for appointing appeals panelists and that that was the job of the court. When he was told of conflict of interests on behalf of two of the panelists whose law firms represented cases that came in front of the panels he helped make sure those attorneys were removed from a direct financial conflict, but were allowed to remain on the panel. In another case, the law firm that employed the wife of one of the panelists was determined to have financial interests in cases that came before the appeals panel and he resigned shortly thereafter.
Juneau also said he requested an audit in response to a call to BP’s fraud hotline in which a caller alleged a claims processor in the Mobile, Ala. CSSP office was directing claims towards family members.
Juneau said that no claims were paid out to the clients or law firms associated with the appeals panelists in question.
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh was tapped by Barbier to investigate the fraud allegations.