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A.G. Schneiderman: Three Years After Sandy, We Must Remain Committed To Making New York Stronger Than Ever

NEW YORK—Three years ago, Superstorm Sandy made landfall in New York with high winds, heavy rain, and a storm surge of more than 13 feet. More than 100 Americans died, including 53 in New York State, and millions more were displaced. The Eastern seaboard suffered as much as $65 billion in damage to homes, roads, railways and subways, and other infrastructure.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued the following statement on this solemn anniversary:

“Three years ago today, New York was struck by one of the worst storms the state has ever seen. As they always do, New Yorkers rose to the occasion and came together to help their neighbors in any way possible. Many volunteered to donate blood, money, or their time to the many charitable organizations that responded in the wake of the storm. In the months and years since, New Yorkers have continually demonstrated their commitment to rebuilding every community stronger than before.

“My office has used every tool at our disposal to ensure that every New Yorker can benefit from the rebuilding process. From the start of the recovery, my office has closely monitored fundraising and spending by charitable organizations to ensure that every dollar raised for Superstorm Sandy relief is spent responsibly. We have recovered millions of dollars of back wages for workers who were underpaid on Sandy-related recovery projects. My office also cracked down on price gougers who ripped off New Yorkers by overcharging them for gas and other essential utilities in the wake of the storm. We have funded a network of housing counselors and legal services providers to help families who incurred financial losses from Superstorm Sandy stay in their homes. Looking forward, we have worked with Consolidated Edison to strengthen plans to harden their infrastructure by taking into account the worsening risks posed by climate change. 

“I will continue to play an active role in the ongoing effort to build a stronger, more resilient infrastructure to resist stronger storms in the future and keep New Yorkers safe.”

In the past three years, Attorney General Schneiderman has made several significant efforts to help New Yorkers overcome the challenges posed by Superstorm Sandy. Among his achievements:

  • Tracking more than $657 million in charitable giving after Sandy and issuing a second anniversary report on how those funds have been used;
  • Intervening in a Public Service Commission proceeding on a proposed rate hike for Consolidated Edison and successfully advocating that the utility company be required to take into account the risks posed by climate change in its storm-hardening plans;
  • Proposing legislation to require all electric and gas utilities in the state to ensure that the critical services they provide to millions of New Yorkers are properly protected from the impacts of climate change;
  • Providing funding to counsel 1,500 homeowners on a range of Sandy-related home retention issues, including mortgage modifications and insurance problems;
  • Obtaining more than $300,000 worth of penalties and costs from almost 50 gas stations that engaged in illegal price gouging after the storm;
  • Securing more than $5.3 million for workers who were underpaid on Sandy recovery projects, including clean-up and utility repairs
  • Cracking down on scammers who preyed on Long Island homeowners with fake notices that appeared to be from the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation in order to trick victims in to paying for unnecessary services;
  • Intervening to prevent New Yorkers from being denied vital communications services in the post-Sandy rebuilding process.

You can read the Attorney General’s second anniversary report on the charitable response to Sandy here. The report found that charities raised more than $657 million for Sandy relief and spent more than $601 million, or 91 percent of that amount, for Sandy relief. By comparison, the Attorney General issued an interim report in July 2013 that found only 58 percent of the funds raised by responding organizations had been spent on Sandy relief six months after the storm.

The first anniversary report, which details the Attorney General’s Sandy recovery efforts, can be found here.