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Report: Sandy Recovery Contractor Fired By Christie Administration

The state’s biggest contractor implementing Superstorm Sandy recovery programs was fired by the Christie administration, reports say.

The contract with Hammerman and Gainer, or HGI, which was overseeing a $780 million Sandy recovery program, was abruptly fired in December, two years before the contract had expired, according to WNYC. 

The public radio station says that the company won its contract last may not long after its New Jersey law firm, Capehard Scatchard, made a $25,000 donation to the Republican Governors Association, which is now headed by Christie.

HGI was to make $68 million administering the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) grant program, which provided up to $150,000 to homeowners for post-Sandy reconstruction. The program has been plagued by long wait-lists, lack of transparency, stonewalling, and lost paperwork. 

But according to documents on the state Treasury’s website, HGI will be paid $10.5 million as an "unpaid balance" — and for work performing during a "transition period" following termination, which went into effect Monday.

HGI worked under the Department of Community affairs. Lisa Ryan, department spokeswoman, said the business of helping homeowners recover from storm damage goes on. She did not say why the contract with HGI was terminated.

"We’ve recently concluded our relationship with HGI as New Jersey transitions to the next phase of disaster recovery,'' Ryan said. "The daily work of helping New Jersey families get back in their homes and communities as quickly as possible is occurring as normal. Additionally, homeowners who have been preliminarily awarded a RREM grant and are moving through the RREM process are continuing to work with their existing housing advisor."

KMurray January 28, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Nancy, make sure that you call to schedule an appointment to sign your grant documents as soon as those inspections are finished. I didn't get an appointment until I called my housing adviser. When you have that grant signing appointment they will tell you what the grant amount is. Then you will know how much you will be able to pay your contractor. I agree this new development makes it even more scary and stressful.
Spooner January 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM
...doesn't the firing of this contractor kind of put a money wrench into the recovery operation. Has Hardy said to Stan Laurel:"that a fine mess you got us into" Governor!
Ridgewood Mom January 28, 2014 at 11:23 AM
We can get through this New Jersey. We are stronger then Christie.
louisemyrealtor January 28, 2014 at 03:57 PM
Nancy Wirtz - just wanted to wish you good luck. I pray everything works out in the long run... so sorry you and your family have had to endure this.. Keep the faith..
KMurray January 29, 2014 at 07:49 AM
Nancy, I had my grant signing appointment yesterday. The housing adviser that I have been working with assured me that he is working for another contractor that was not fired. He also tried to assure me that the money for all of the work is waiting there for us and the contractors will be paid and that I shouldn't worry. But THEN The calculations were wrong on their paperwork, and he and another adviser took hours to get it straightened out. How much faith can we have in their assurances that everything is going to be fine??

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