Climate Profiteering: $13.5B Trust for California Fire Victims Funnels Funds to Lawyers, Consultants

Democracy Now!

Published on Jul 16, 2021

We look at the corporate profiteering off people who lost their homes and loved ones to recent fires in California, where wildfires continue to rage amid record temperatures. A major investigation by KQED and NPR’s California Newsroom found a special trust set up to distribute $13.5 billion to survivors of wildfires caused by PG&E — the state’s largest utility company — instead spent lavishly on its own administration while distributing almost nothing to the 70,000 fire victims, many of whom still live in trailers. Those who profited while the fire victims waited for help included Wall Street bankers and prestigious law firms. The investigation has prompted a bipartisan call from state lawmakers for the state attorney general to investigate. “A lot of fire survivors are looking at this situation and wondering: Why is this taking so long?” says Lily Jamali, a co-host for KQED’s The California Report and the reporter behind the exposé. “They’re getting really impatient, and they’re very unhappy with the way this process has been run so far.”

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