91,000 Gulf oil spill claims, just 1 final payment

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BP's compensation fund for Gulf oil spill victims has issued a final settlement payment to just one of the thousands of people and businesses waiting for checks, records show, and that $10 million payout went to a company after the oil giant intervened on its behalf.

BP won't identify the business, citing confidentiality, but acknowledges it lobbied for the settlement. The amount far exceeds smaller stopgap payments that some individuals and businesses have received while they wait for their own final settlements.

The Gulf Coast Claims Facility was set up in August to independently administer BP's $20 billion compensation fund in the aftermath of its April 20 oil well blowout off Louisiana.

As of this weekend, roughly 91,000 people and businesses had filed for final settlements, but the fund's administrator, Washington lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, has said those checks won't start rolling out until February at the earliest. Thousands of people have received some money to tide them over until a final settlement amount is offered, but only one business listed as paid on the facility's website has so far received a check.

A BP spokeswoman called it "a unique situation in which an existing BP business partner and BP submitted a view on a specific claim" to the facility.

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