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Behind the Scenes at the WTC Insurance Fund
As I’ve noted in prior posts, one of the enduring hypocrisies facing the WTC rescue workers awaiting payment for inhaling toxic fumes amidst the rubble after 9/11 is that the WTC Insurance Fund, led by Christine LaSala, is using its mandate to fight the claims of those who need the money the most. It has been noted that tens of millions of the $1 billion that Congress handed over to the WTC Insurance Fund, to be distributed to WTC rescue workers, have instead been used to pay to outside law firms to fight the claims of those sick and dying from exposure to these toxins.
One of the most ruthless attorneys employed by the WTC Insurance Fund is James Tyrrell of the law firm Patton Boggs best known for defending the company that manufactured Agent Orange. Knowing what we now know about Christine LaSala and the WTC Insurance Fund and their corporate ethics, I’m certain he fit right in. And during the time he’s been working with the WTC Insurance Fund, he and other attorneys have managed to take $47 million of the $1 billion that Congress earmarked for paying WTC rescue workers. That means nearly 5% of the entire WTC Insurance Fund, designed to help those American heroes dying from emphysema and lung cancer after helping us recover from the most significant attack on US soil, have been spent on high priced attorneys fighting against the same plaintiffs the WTC Insurance Fund was supposed to defend. And during that time… only $45,000 has been paid out to one carpenter who fell off a ladder. If that wasn’t enough to boil the blood, lawyer Thomas Jones who serves as the WTC Insurance Fund’s secretary is also a partner at McDermott & Will law firm, which serves as the WTC Insurance Fund’s legal counsel. That is an obvious conflict of interest since McDermott & Will advises the WTC Insurance Fund on what they can and cannot legally do with the $1 Billion they have while at the same time one of their partners is working for the company they are representing. McDermott & Will can defend their man while he works within the WTC Insurance Fund denying claims for injured fire, police, and civilians.
A scandal involving so much money related to a topic so near and dear to hearts of all Americans, but especially New Yorkers, would normally be front-page news, but in this case it’s barely been touched by mainstream media. Between Tyrrell, Jones, and the other lackeys hired by Christine LaSala and the WTC Insurance Fund, $75 million has been spent fighting the claims of the WTC rescue workers. Putting yourself in the shoes of these heroes you realize what horrible odds they face as they are outspent (ironically with their own tax dollars used against them) and are in poor health. Worse yet, as we’ve seen the WTC Insurance Fund has stated that they may be looking at 2015 until money begins being paid. Christine LaSala (making $350,000 annually) and her cronies are quite rich and can afford to wait for this fight to take place. Can a fireman living off a small disability check with rising health costs afford to do the same?