For months, residents of Gulf Coast communities such as Destin, Fla., have complained about the Gulf Coast Claims Facility oil-spill compensation fund and its administrator, Kenneth Feinberg.

When Feinberg came to Destin for a town hall meeting in January, more than 800 locals turned up to air their grievances about the fund. The same week, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi lodged a protest on behalf of the state before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans, who’s overseeing the sprawling multidistrict environmental and torts litigation over the spill. Feinberg was refusing to process interim and final claims, Bondi wrote, forcing spill victims, “due to their desperation,” to accept much smaller “quick-pay” settlements that require granting BP PLC and other oil-spill defendants full release from future lawsuits.