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Millions missing in Superstorm Sandy funds

Glenn Townes | 10/15/2016, 10:46 a.m.
deral audit of Superstorm Sandy funds has revealed more than $43 million in relief funds is unaccounted for nearly 4 ...
Pictured is damage from Superstorm Sandy to Mantoloking, New Jersey. -- Wikipedia photo

A federal audit of Superstorm Sandy funds has revealed more than $43 million in relief funds is unaccounted for nearly 4 years after the hurricane devastated parts of the tri-state area, according to documents recently released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

At a recent press conference in the north Jersey town of Moonachie, state representatives Frank Pallone and Bill Pascrell requested that an immediate investigation be launched to determine what happened to the missing funds. The slow distribution and lethargic pace of recovery for dozens of communities across the state has long been a source of angst between victims of the storm, federal, state and local governments. Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive storm of the 2012 hurricane season and the second costliest hurricane in United States history. Thousands of complaints from victims of the storm led to a federal investigation of a contractor that was commissioned to rebuild hundreds of Superstorm Sandy damaged properties across the state. The contractor—Hammerman & Gainer Inc., was fired shortly after it was awarded a multi-million dollar contract.

“According to the findings, New Jersey did not have adequate controls in place to administer {some} contracts and monitor the performances of those contracts,” Pascrell said. Both Pascrell and Pallone blame Gov. Chris Christie for the shortfall and said the Christie administration needs to be held accountable for detailing where and how the funds were distributed. “Everyday we work on the individual cases to try and make sure people get the money they are supposed but many businesses are still not back,” Pallone said. Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive storm of the 2012 hurricane season and the second costliest hurricane in United States history. Officials from Gov. Christie's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the audit.