Oil spill claims a bonanza for some

April 13, 2011 at 4:45 PM
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NEW ORLEANS, April 13 (UPI) -- Sales tax records in two Louisiana parishes affected by the BP oil spill in 2010 surged after BP contracts and claims payouts came through, tax records show.

In Plaquemines Parish, sales tax collections soared by 71 percent, while in St. Bernard Parish they almost doubled six months after the oil spill compared to the same six months of 2009, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The jump in sales tax is evidence of how much residents were able to benefit from millions of dollars BP poured into the Gulf Coast after the oil spill, giving rise to the term "spillionaires," referring to those whose wealth escalated by filing claims or signing contracts with the company.

"This parish raped BP," said the chairman of the St. Bernard Parish Council Wayne Landry, referring to claims that turned the oil spill into a bonanza for some.

One parish employee, homeland security director David Dysart, worked 497 hours of overtime in the first seven weeks after the spill and was paid $23,000 in overtime alone.

In another instance, a firm that was renting land for $1,700 per month, Amigo Enterprises, billed BP $1.1 million per month to compensate for their losses during the cleanup period.

One local family-owned company, Loupe Construction, with no prior experience in oil cleanup work, landed a $125 million contract after the oil spill, mostly because they happened to be available at the right time, the newspaper said.

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