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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."

Renee Lachapelle January 25, 2014 at 02:06 PM
WOW NJ really is a great place to work, cheap too. 25K for 10M + , what a bargain. How can I get in on the deal?
Noreen Staples January 25, 2014 at 02:11 PM
Whatever your opinion.......must the nasty fat jokes continue? IMO it discredits your response. Presumably in the USA, you are innocent until proven guilty. I don't think he has been charged with anything yet.
Penn Cross January 25, 2014 at 04:39 PM
More people using Sandy to grub money...depressing.
BBW January 25, 2014 at 04:45 PM
Noreen, you are correct, Unfortunately I wasn't trying to disparage others at all only making a joke about the Gov. I apologize for the insensitivity. I will try other forms of humor but I might offend rodents and Republicans.
louisemyrealtor January 25, 2014 at 04:48 PM
Living in Morganville I didn't experience the devastation that was brought to my friends on the shoreline.. I am deeply sorry that the Government of New Jersey has let you down with the promises to build after the storm! Please know our prayers are with you during these trying times. I find it a sin that Governor Christie spent millions on ads promoting the 'come back of' the Jersey Shore for his own interests in being reelected as Governor. I pray everyone sees through his empty promise and does NOT vote in the presidential election... something I believe he's after...
BBW January 25, 2014 at 04:59 PM
louisemyrealtor, thoughI am not a fan of Republicans and lean towards the Dems, You have to know that any time someone on both sides of the isle think they can they will cheat. Well, not everyone, but politics is loaded. T party people, are not immune to graft, lies and whatever. Politics....just keeps giving oops make the "taking".
louisemyrealtor January 25, 2014 at 05:11 PM
BBW - ??? - I didn't understand your remarks... please forgive my ignorance.. please explain again that I can understand..
Cardinal January 25, 2014 at 05:26 PM
Why did the Christie administration quietly fire this contractor?
BBW January 25, 2014 at 06:03 PM
What can I say Louise, corruption is a game all politicians can play. I enjoy the game when they get caught.
OHW January 25, 2014 at 07:16 PM
The Patch is running one story after another slamming Christie. So where's the one about Menendez and the federal probe of him and his Ecuadorian friends? Or is criticizing Democrats off limits?
Rick Ricky January 25, 2014 at 08:46 PM
Francesca Miller January 26, 2014 at 02:59 AM
I posted quite a bit before the election. After I realized most storm victims voted for Christie, I gave up.
Francesca Miller January 26, 2014 at 03:02 AM
He used each and every one of us in his theatrical Kodak moments. Thanks, voters.
Sean Conneamhe January 26, 2014 at 07:32 AM
"Impeach Christie.."
mr henry January 26, 2014 at 08:12 AM
Maureen I think it reads 10.5 is what they will be paid out of 68 million they got the contract for .My question would be again for what .Did they arrange for 20000people to recieve funds for house raising or put homes back together .what did they do ..Or did they sit on the money for a year and do nothing, and if so is that what they were told to do and by whom?
Maureen Fitzgerald January 26, 2014 at 09:05 AM
Obviously I don't know the answers to your excellent questions. As for the 10.5 million, what I said was a direct quote and not paraphrased. Plus the contract they received, like all government contracts, is not paid to them upfront, but parceled out according to the term of the contract. We have no idea of what they have already received. I suppose it's public record and if you're so inclined, you can do some sleuthing. I may so that after church.
Noreen Staples January 26, 2014 at 10:00 AM
There was a link to the paperwork and billing for that company. I must say I started to go thru it......and stopped. It is voluminous On another note, Mr. Henry you bring up valid questions that I would love to have the answers to. As well as how much money was NJ given? When? Where is it? How much has been given out? This story is hearsay, BUT a Sandy survivor was talking with her RREM coordinator and asked how many houses have actually started the rebuild/lift thru RREM ( not sure if this was in Nov. Dec. 13, or just this Janas time flies)THE ANSWER TO HER AT THAT TIME WAS..............ONE!
Maureen Fitzgerald January 26, 2014 at 12:59 PM
I didn't and still don't see the link, Noreen. Thanks.
Noreen Staples January 26, 2014 at 01:05 PM
Will look now. I have read so many articles maybe I am confusing which story it's from. Sorry
Noreen Staples January 26, 2014 at 01:15 PM
Sorry Maureen.....it is in WNYC. Link is in the story.WNYC News Christie's Biggest Sandy Contractor Fired Homeowners, Legislators Had Bitter Complaints About Firm Thursday, January 23, 2014 WNYC By Matt Katz : New Jersey Public Radio
Ridgewood Mom January 26, 2014 at 04:06 PM
BBW January 26, 2014 at 05:43 PM
@OHW, think this Christie fiasco impacts a lot more than Menendez. Sticking it to the people while your using funds for free election publicity money to make yourself look great before the election is more to be considered along with what is turning out to be poor management over his people to help the the residents he promised to help. Christie is not the "white knight" of New Jersey , take off the armor and he's just a little man with a bull horn. Even some of the big people he put in jail like Kushner only got two years because he was a billionaire connected to Mcgreevey.
KMurray January 26, 2014 at 11:39 PM
It isn't clear if they were fired for being inept, or how the rest of the grant applicants will have their paperwork processed. If there is another $110million available for this RREM program coming for 1000 more families, who will be processing the paperwork for them? I hope they have a better system planned for handling the process, because I experienced the chaos first hand. Changing rules regarding the procedures, forms that I spent hours in the office filling out were lost and had to be redone. There are so many people working there that must have been paid a lot of money to do the same work over and over again. Right now I don't care about Christie and how he selected this contractor, I want to know what they are going to do to fix this mess, and I want them to stop wasting our time and money!
Spooner January 27, 2014 at 10:46 AM
The former NYT columnist Frank Rich has a very interesting piece in New York magazine giving mention to Christie has a media creation with meager substance, among other views of Fox News promotions...http://nymag.com/news/frank-rich/fox-news-2014-2/
Nancy Wirtz January 28, 2014 at 10:31 AM
So what does all this mean for someone like me who got royally screwed over by my insurance company and I've been excepted by the RREM program to rebuild and have my own contractor? Do I get money now to rebuild or not? They are telling me I was approved and the inspections are going forward. How do I know my contractor will actually be paid? This is scary. I'm living in an apartment because my home is not liveable. I just want to get back in my home and I can't afford to do it alone.
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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