"GRAND ISLE, La. – The reefs that David Walter makes for anglers to drop into the Gulf of Mexico are fake, but his frustration as he tries to win compensation from BP for lost income is real.
State regulators stopped issuing permits for the reefs on May 4 because of the oil spill, effectively killing off $350,000 in Walter's expected business. It sent him into a labyrinth of archived invoices and documents lost by BP. Finally, an offer came: $5,000.
"I said that's not fair because if you say that, then I have to go out of business and I lose everything," said Walter, whose company is based in Alabama.
Fishermen, property owners and businesspeople who have filed damage claims with BP are angrily complaining of delays, excessive paperwork and skimpy payments that have put them on the verge of going under as the financial and environmental toll of the seven-week-old disaster grows."