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From The Desk Of Assemblyman Michael Montesano: October 31, 2013

Sandy Money Must Go To Sandy Victims

Like all of you, I was shocked and disgusted by the revelations in Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s report that roughly 40 percent of the $570 million raised by non-profits in the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts have yet to be given out to storm victims. This is unacceptable and I commend the Attorney General for making public the malfeasance of these non-profit organizations in keeping the charitable donations of good people looking to help those in need for themselves.

There are residents still in dire straits one year after Sandy: families are still paying mortgages and real property taxes on the storm-ravaged homes they are unable to inhabit and thousands of people dislocated from the neighborhoods and communities they have lived in for years. Shame on these “charitable” organizations for keeping millions in donations earmarked for victims of Superstorm Sandy in their coffers while thousands struggling in the wake of a devastating natural disaster have their cries for help go unheeded.

This cannot be allowed to happen now or ever again. As a Long Islander and a human being concerned for the welfare of the many in need, I demand these non-profits immediately disperse the crucial aid they have been withholding for nearly a year. As an assemblyman, I am going to work to ensure this never happens again. Charitable donations must go to the people they are meant to assist, not to bank accounts and “overhead expenses.” I will support legislation to prevent future abuse of our residents’ goodwill and ensure donations go to where they are intended.

It is my hope that the Attorney General continues the excellent work done thus far in uncovering this travesty and the millions in missing donations go where necessary. Only then can we fulfill the promise of a year ago and help our communities rebuild and recover.