Lawmakers demand answers over 9/11 payments

Lawmakers demand answers over 9/11 payments
This is from News12 Westchester:

(08/06/07) YONKERS - Two U.S. senators are demanding answers from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg over why Sept. 11 responders haven't gotten medical payments.

Bloomberg oversees a $1 billion fund set up by Congress to help sick responders pay for medical costs. However, a suit recently filed by a White Plains lawyer on behalf of responders accuses the mayor of squandering millions on fees instead of legitimate payouts.

"I think Mayor Bloomberg has breached his responsibility of trust to tens of thousands of workers who risked their lives," said attorney David Worby. "I think he's responsible for their problems."

So far, $88 million of the WTC Captive Insurance Co. fund has gone toward administrative costs and fees for 53 high-powered law firms. More than 8,600 Sept. 11 responders have filed claims, but none have received payments.

In a letter issued to the fund, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said they had serious concerns about the management of the fund. The lawmakers are threatening to hold hearings as soon as September if Bloomberg doesn't respond.

The mayor's office has said in the past it blames Congress for the lack of payouts. Bloomberg argues the fund is set up to require litigation to pay sick workers rather than paying them directly.