Audit: Oil spill settlement program correctly processed 99.5 percent of claims

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NEW ORLEANS — A third-party audit of the oil spill settlement program finds the settlement program has correctly processed 99.5 percent of claims.

The audit, conducted by Chicago-based McGladrey LLP, concluded the program is "well-designed and appropriate" and made no major recommendations for improvement.

NOLA.com/The Times Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1vir0dv ) that claims administrator Patrick Juneau released the audit Tuesday of the Court-Supervised Settlement Program, or CSSP.

"BP wanted to see the McGladrey audit, and here it is: the CSSP gets claims right 99.5% of the time. That 'is a significant accomplishment,' as stated by the ... independent audit committee," said Steve Herman and Jim Roy, lead attorneys for businesses and individuals who have filed claims against BP.

The attorneys responded in a statement emailed Wednesday to The Associated Press.

The audit has become a focal point for BP in its fight to remove Juneau and challenge the settlement program, which it claims is riddled with fraud and errors.

In late October, BP asked a federal judge to force Juneau to turn over the audit, which it said had ballooned in cost from $1.6 million to $14 million. The British oil giant accused Juneau of purposely hiding the results.

The public release of the findings comes two weeks after a federal judge in New Orleans rejected BP's request to remove Juneau from his post due to a conflict of interest. BP said it is considering its options for appealing that decision.

In a statement, Juneau said the audit reinforces the program is running properly. He encouraged the public to review its findings.

"I am very grateful to all of those people who worked so hard to make this happen. It speaks volumes as to what has been accomplished to date," Juneau said.

BP Vice President Geoff Morrell said in a statement that BP was in the process of reviewing the report.

"The audit took place over the course of a year, and we have just received the report," Morrell said. "We are reviewing the materials and will have further comment, as appropriate."

McGladrey examined 1,852 claims out of 53,512 submitted to the court supervised settlement program since it was approved in 2012.

The total value of the reviewed claims was $741 million. More than half of the claims were for individual or failed business losses.


Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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