By Jason Stverak
The BP Deepwater Horizon spill has cost taxpayers and business tens of billions of dollars, dealing a serious blow to fishing, tourism, and other industries in the region.
Now BP has put up more than $30 billion to compensate people, businesses and government for the damage caused. Unfortunately, much of that relief isn’t reaching the people who need it most.
OIL SPILL: BP has spent billions to compensate people and businesses for the damage that was caused during its oil spill.
Louisiana’s post-spill reconstruction brought many only wanting to help, but the large compensation fund also attracted major out-of-state companies with business on their minds.
While some criticize any company profiting from work in tough times, the private sector with a profit motive generally gets the job done more quickly and with less cost.
However, in the case of FreehGroup International Solutions, the company has raked in millions of dollars to promote the public positions and image of clients. Meanwhile, more than 130,000 claims have not been addressed while administrative costs have skyrocketed.
The Freeh Group banks on the reputation of its founder, Louis Freeh. Freeh has enjoyed a high criminal justice profile for moret than two decades.
He helped to break up a powerful Mafia ring, was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to be federal judge, and served under President Bill Clinton as director of the FBI. Freeh’s seal of approval granted by presidents of both parties marked him as objective and above partisanship, a reputation increasingly valuable as Washington politics become increasingly polarized.
Freeh’s company promises clients “the highest level of service and independent counsel while maintaining an uncompromising commitment to integrity in every matter.”
Freeh’s initial involvement with the matter came in a September 2013 report when his company investigated possible ethical violations, fraud, and noncompliance with rules laid down by the court.
Unfortunately Freeh botched the report, but that hasn’t stopped U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier from gradually ceding decision making powers to the firm. Freeh’s company has carved itself out a niche as de facto administrator and arbitrator of the Deepwater Horizon spill claims process without any meaningful government oversight or even media scrutiny.