Activist groups seek fair share for minorities in BP claims

TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) - Tuskegee Mayor Omar Neal said he will begin an investigation into whether the city is a getting a fair share from BP for losses from the oil spill.  He was joined at a news conference Tuesday by activists who say minorities have been overlooked in the claims process.  Unlike the activist group, Neal stopped short of calling for a boycott of BP.

"I'm not boycotting," he said.  "These T-shirts are people who have claims.  They are representing people who are already claimants, and have not received money."

The group, Operation People for Peace, says it represents 10,000 people who claim they're not receiving a fair share from BP.

"We have people that were fisherman that have turned in claims," said Art Rocker, chairman of the group.  "We have churches, small churches that have been involved."

Last month the group protested in front of claims administrator Ken Feinberg's office in Washington, D.C.  Comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory was among those arrested in that protest.

"(With) all the damages and everything, if you don't have nobody to speak for you, then you won't," Gregory said.

Mayor Neal says his team will look at the facts and the numbers to make sure cities like Tuskegee are not getting short-changed.

"We're investigating, we're seeing and we will do a full investigation of the impact it's had on the entire state of Alabama, not just Tuskegee," Neal said.

A look at the numbers provided by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility shows the GCCF has paid claims for losses in counties as far away from the coast as Colbert and DeKalb Counties.  Six Macon County residents have received $89,000 in claims, but no claims have been paid for losses inside the county.

Attorney General Luther Strange told WSFA 12 News he wants to hear from anyone who feels they've been wronged by BP.

"I encourage them to contact our office," Strange said.  "I hope they've filed their papers like the other counties and cities.  We're representing the entire state of Alabama, including Tuskegee."

To look at the number of claims paid out across the state, click here.

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