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Who is Kenneth Feinberg?

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 7:00 p.m.

It's been a busy few weeks for Kenneth R. Feinberg: The Washington National Opera reappointed him last month as president of its board of trustees, granting him a third two-year term. And now President Obama wants him to oversee an escrow account funded by BP that will compensate the victims of the April 20 Gulf Coast oil spill.

Kenneth Feinberg
Kenneth R. Feinberg (AP)

Challenging? Yes, but whether it's putting a value on the footage of John F. Kennedy's assassination, the use of "Agent Orange" during the Vietnam War, the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the Virginia Tech shootings or the global economic crisis, Feinberg is the go-to guy on some of the most emotional and legally challenging questions of the last decade.

The son of a tire salesman and bookkeeper from Brockton, Mass., Feinberg graduated from the University of Massachusetts and New York University Law School. He acted in college, briefly considered a theatrical career and teaches an opera course at the Levine School.

Feinberg once clerked for New York State Court of Appeals Chief Justice Stanley H. Fuld, served as chief of staff to the late Edward M. Kennedy and in 1984 helped settle a dispute between Vietnam War veterans and chemical companies that produced the herbicide known as "Agent Orange."

"That one case, Agent Orange, changed my entire professional career," Feinberg told The Post in January. He established a law firm specializing in dispute resolution and among other cases, helped determine that the heirs of Abraham Zapruder should be paid $16 million for his grainy film of the Kennedy assassination.

Compelled by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he volunteered to oversee the victims compensation fund established by Congress, embarking on a 33-month effort that included public forums and one-on-one meetings with victims' families.

He led a similar effort in 2007, following the Virginia Tech shootings and for the past year has served as the Obama administration's "Special Master for Compensation" (or "pay czar"), tasked with capping the salaries of executives at automobile companies and banks earning financial support from the government bailout.

He's reviewing executive compensation plans at more than 400 financial institutions that received Troubled Assets Relief Program funds and in March announced pay cuts for 119 executives at American International Group, General Motors, Chrysler, GMAC and Chrysler Financial -- the five firms that earned considerable assistance from the government.

(An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that the WNO reappointed Feinberg last week.)

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 16, 2010; 1:52 PM ET
Categories:  Administration  
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Dear Ken

As a former lawyer in multiple jurisdictions and a current Realtor Associate Broker in multiple jurisdictions, I would welcome the opportunity to work with you on this extended claims case.

Posted by: | June 16, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Dear Ken,

As a Democrat hack shyster just like yourself I would like to help you hand out this extortion money in a way that will favor Democrat political candidates and their re-election chances this fall. Call my cell phone, babe.

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 16, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Good Man

Nothing like a Great Story of Redemption

We can go from HERE:

BP and MMS Managers:

* Falsifying, inspections,
* Neglecting key safety equipment,
* Failing to perform key checks and maintenance, and
* Harassing and Intimidating workers, and whistleblowers.

BP repeatedly ignored safety, environmental rules:

Article Keywords:

neglected key equipment, intimidating workers, corroded pipelines, falsified inspections, storage tanks with leaks and damage, warning system failed, pencil whipping, or falsifying inspections data, skip key diagnostics including pressure testing, pipeline cleaning and corrosion checks, harassment continued, disturbing state of disrepair, extensive tears, pervasive leaks, thousands of violations, falsified safety and inspections reports, lack of detection sensors and emergency shutoff valves, sensors and shutoff systems not operational.

The result is the killing of workers, and Destruction of Hundreds of Billions in USA resources.

BP Pays $20 Billion in Reparations to the People and Businesses of the Gulf Coast, and $10 Billion per year in Oil Earnings until the Gulf is Restored.

BP employs Tens of Thousands of USA workers in Safety Preparation, Prevention, Maintenance Inspection, Oil Cleanup Technologies, USA made Oil Platforms and USA Carbon Fiber Drilling Pipelines, Clean Up operations, making Sand Sifter machines, Laying Boom, Hay, Smart Sponges, manning Barges, Pumps and Separators and other Oil Cleanup Technologies.

BP carries Disaster Insurance to prove their Drilling Safety preparation and Employs the Power of Private Insurance Companies to help insure safe operations.

BP becomes the Safest and most Productive Oil Company on the planet.

That is a Goal to Love.

Posted by: liveride | June 16, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Feinber. The lawyer who makes millions off of everyone else's disaster or crisis. Wonder how much he'll make on this oil spill.

Posted by: 45upnorth | June 16, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

good that the President set up the three person appeals board, as it doesn't sound right for Mr Feinberg to be reviewing his own decisions, as he said he was in his op-ed piece in NY Times for any appeals of his 9/11 awards. Well done, Mr Feinberg.

Posted by: rufkd | June 16, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

So much for Barry's promise of an "independent" escrow fund. He must have had his fingers crossed again while speaking with his forked tongue. Add this selection of one of his crony shyster czars to the long list of lies of the most notorious serial-liar of the last hundred years.

Posted by: jpost1 | June 16, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Kenneth Feinberg argues that his aim is to make fair settlements. I don't think his settlements are fair, and point to the outrageous $16 million paid for the Zapruder film, which had arguably become public record by that time, and so worth almost nothing. As far as the pay settlements for the car industry, I also think these are unfair. Yes, they are less than the executives were awarded, but they were much more than we pay our top executives, including the President of the United States. Since public money was involved, the salaries should have been capped at less than $400,000. No one drawing public funds should earn more than the president. It sets a bad, bad precedent.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | June 16, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

..............and who will be watching Feinberg ???


Posted by: thgirbla | June 16, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

He'll make a nice commission on that one.

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 16, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

How is this any different than a SOLE SOURCE CONTRACT ?

This should have been competitively bid. SHAME on OBAMA.

Posted by: BrianX9 | June 16, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Mr Fineberg hardly got rich on the 9/11 work and is being paid the same for his work as pay czar.....check it out...his compensation is ZERO......great job Ken !!

Posted by: david1943 | June 16, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

his compensation for the 9/11 job was the same as that as pay czar....check it was $ ZERO...stop complaining..this is a good guy !!

Posted by: david1943 | June 16, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

So you want me to believe that a Chicago politician hires a lawyer to oversee a 2Bln fund and both are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts?

Posted by: jamespmarion | June 16, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Republicans really freak out whenever President Obama succeeds.

I just find it amazing that they have absolutely no concern whatsoever for the families in Louisiana that need that money to put food on their table.

Then again, look at how Republicans are with Pro-Life issues -- Once the baby is born, both mother and child are on their own to fend for themselves.

This is not even taxpayer money and the greedy Republicans want to try to stop the people from getting it.

That's horrible !

Posted by: lindalovejones | June 16, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

TO: jamespmarion who wrote:
“So you want me to believe that a Chicago politician hires a lawyer to oversee a 2Bln fund and both are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts?”


Well, Republicans believe they put 2 oil men in the White House who DIDN’T deregulate big oil, so what the hell?

Posted by: lindalovejones | June 16, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

By engaging in extorsion and deciding how much people should make, Obama is imitating Hugo Chavez and radically transforming the U.S. from a prosperous, free country into a failed, enslaved country.

IMPEACH Obama before it's too late!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | June 16, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

You are right, thgirbla! Who will be watching Feinberg ???


We can trust the mafia more than we can trust Obama and his czars!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | June 16, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

And if Obama did not come up with this fund you people would be screaming that he was sticking taxpayers with the bill.

Posted by: posttoastie1 | June 17, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Taxpayers are suckers.

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 17, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

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