BP's Gulf Cleanup Creates 'Spillionaires'

Many in Gulf Coast got rich in unsupervised spending frenzy: Pro Publica
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2011 6:42 PM CDT
BP's Gulf Cleanup Created 'Spillionaires'
St. Bernard Parish president Craig Taffaro, left, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are seen through a hole in a spreader used to build a man-made sand berm near the Chandeleur Islands.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A Pro Publica investigation introduces a new word in the Gulf Coast lexicon: spillionaire. As in, the nickname given to someone—usually someone politically connected—who raked in a lot of money from BP's unregulated $16 billion cleanup fund for localities. It puts a particular focus on St. Bernard Parish in New Orleans—along with its vocal president, Craig Taffaro—with tidbits like these:

  • A subcontractor there charged BP $15,400 a month to rent a generator, about 10 times higher than usual.
  • A company partly owned by the sheriff charged BP more than $1 million a month for land that had been renting closer to the $1,700-a-month range.

  • One fisherman earned $210,000 in the 8 months after the spill—more than three times his entire 2009 salary—because of emergency claims to BP and cleanup work.
"This parish raped BP," says the chairman of the St. Bernard Parish Council. "At the end of the day, it really just frustrates me. I'm an elected official. I have guilt by association." Click to read the lengthy investigation, done in conjunction with the Washington Post. (More British Petroleum stories.)

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