Gulf Went Shopping on BP's Dime

Localities bought SUVs, iPads, anything
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2011 7:13 PM CDT
Gulf Oil Spill: Localities Went Shopping on BP's Dime
In this April 21, 2010 file photo, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

When BP's Macondo well blew skyward, the oil titan opened up its wallet and doused oil-soaked Gulf communities in cash. And non-oil-soaked Gulf communities. Both of which went shopping, reports the AP in an analysis of what the $754 million that BP paid to state and local governments bought. BP set few limits on the cash, but might've frowned on questionable purchases that tally millions of dollars. Among them:

  • The Lafourche Parish president bought herself an iPad, ostensibly to stay in constant contact. A month and a half after BP capped the well.

  • Biloxi, Miss., put 14 SUVs and pickups, two boats, two dump trucks, and a backhoe on BP's tab. The city's mayor is now tooling around in a $35,000 Chevy Tahoe, which he's used to attend "countless meetings" about the spill.
  • Also in Lafourche, the spokesman bought himself a laptop and accessories for $3,165—because working on the crisis had worn out his year-old $2,700 laptop.
  • In Gulfport, the sewer department bought a $300,000 vacuum truck that never saw oil.
  • A untouched Florida county dropped $560,000 on concerts to promote its pristine beaches.
  • All was not lost, however: D'Iberville, Miss., police were denied a $19,000 Harley-Davidson that even the city manager calls "a bit of a reach, obviously."
(Read more BP oil spill stories.)

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