- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is still dealing with the “Bridgegate” scandal, is now facing another. Constituents are now giving their governor failing grades over his administration’s disbursement of federal financial aid for Superstorm Sandy cleanup efforts.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Mr. Christie is fielding fire over stories of poor contractor performance and accusations about inside deals and cronyism-type agreements that have left some homeowners still waiting for money.

The claims come as Mr. Christie is still dealing with accusations that his top aides and political appointees plotted to take revenge on a mayor who failed to support the governor’s re-election by shutting down heavily traveled lanes of the George Washington Bridge — roads that run through the mayor’s district.

Similarly, Mr. Christie and his aids are also facing questions about whether they used Sandy money to reward their friends and to take revenge on their political enemies, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Constituents expressed their frustrations and anger during a recent public hearing on the matter.

“A lot of us are still waiting” for disaster relief, said Jane Peltonen, a local resident who said her home is still in shambles and she’s not seen a penny from state coffers, the Los Angeles Times reported. “Right now it is a black eye on our state. Where’s the governor? I think maybe he’s in Chicago, or maybe Texas. Do you really think he’s going to make sure we get help?”

Mr. Christie had stated on a previous public occasion that the disaster aid was being delayed — but that it was due to factors outside his control. For instance, he blamed “immeasurable” red tape put in place by federal bureaucrats as a key factor, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The questions about where the assistance money has been spent began almost as soon as the state received its first $1.8 billion grant, the Los Angeles Times reported. Part of that money — about $25 million — went toward a promotional campaign to salvage summer tourism, a “Stronger Than the Storm” public relations push that angered many residents who were still waiting for money to rebuild.

The inspector general for the Department of Housing and Urban Development is looking at that expenditure to see if was a proper use of aide money, the Los Angeles Times said.



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