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Ex-BP Exec Wrote About Company’s Missteps

A former BP executive living in Cape Coral says he watched the company put profits ahead of everything, including safety, and isn't surprised by the huge spill in the Gulf now making its way onto Florida's shores.

Rick Lacey, who spent about eight years as an accountant and financial analyst at BP in the 1990s, wrote a novel based on his experiences titled "Involuntary Separation: Corporate Downsizing Gone Fatally Wrong."

While still employed at BP, he began his 2002 novel, which he said details many of the company's missteps.

He chose fiction as his soap box, he said, because he figured it would attract more attention.

The book is available on the Internet at Barnes&Noble and Amazon.

Lacey said he left the company in 1998. After helping BP lay off thousands of employees.

Lacey said that along with the layoffs, BP contracted work out to smaller companies to lessen its liability in case of rig explosions and other accidents.

"Prior to downsizing, BP drilled for its own oil," Lacey said. "So they would've been running the entire operation themselves, and they would be responsible for the safety and liable for ... the spill."

Instead, under the new business model, BP could shift blame to the other companies involved, even if the companies were too small to pay for cleanup and would be forced to declare bankruptcy, he said.

This scenario played out at recent congressional hearings, where executives at BP, Transocean and Halliburton - companies that operated on the rig - each pointed the finger at each other.

The only reason BP is paying for clean-up of the current spill, Lacey argued, is to save the company from going under in a wave of public outrage.

"If it was a smaller (spill), they'd let the drillers go bankrupt," he said.

Lacey said he thinks the only solution is to "force BP to divest itself of all its American assets and throw them out of our hemisphere."

"If we let 'em stay," Lacey said, "let 'em continue to pump oil, continue refining, continue to sell it to American consumers, who's paying for the cost of the clean-up? American consumers."

A BP spokesman declined comment Thursday.

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