In the birthplace of Huey Long and Edwin Edwards, you have to expect corruption on a grand scale. Even in Louisiana, however, the shenanigans associated with the BP oil spill settlement smell like a putrid swamp.
In most states, in a case of this magnitude – with so many claims and so many hundreds of millions at stake – the judge and the claims administrator would be expected to be nonpartisan, dispassionate and objective.
Even in states with laxer standards, if there are any, the judge and the claims administrator would be expected to maintain the appearance of nonpartisanship.
Not so in Louisiana. Chacun à son goût, n'est-ce pas?
It's not that there isn't corruption in other states. It's just that, in Louisiana, they're honest about it. Brazen, even.
When a judge and a claims administrator choose sides and don't care who knows it, all you can say is: Bienvenue en Louisiane!
In the Bayou State, even more so than elsewhere, it's not what you know but who you know – or, in this particular case, who Juneau knew.
Juneau is Patrick Juneau, the claims administrator in the BP trial settlement. Cher, if you know dat man, you goin' to make out like a bandit, yeah.
Poor BP didn't realize where they were and what sort of characters they were messing with. All this time, they thought they were playing poker, but it was really bourré and BP didn't know the rules.
Now that BP’s wised up and figured out that the game can be rigged, they're seeking to have Patrick Juneau removed as claims administrator, arguing that he is biased and has conflicts of interest he's been considerably less than candid about.
BP accuses Juneau of representing plaintiffs in the oil spill suit prior to becoming claims administrator, expediting claims of friendly lawyers since then, and overseeing a claims facility characterized by misconduct and corruption.
If BP ever manages to extricate itself from the swamp of Louisiana politics and culture, you can bet they won't miss New Orleans and all that jazz.