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Seaside Heights Officials Expected Sandy Spending Probe [AUDIO]

Extra scrutiny by the Feds over the submission of Superstorm Sandy claims comes as no surprise to Seaside Heights officials.

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Borough Administrator John Camera says the decision of first responders to break into a local army/navy store to get supplies is raising the most concern.

Camera admits the first responders actions were unusual, but understandable soon after the storm.

“My understanding is that lots of guys were wearing wet cloths, that had been wet for a couple days and there was no ability to dry’em and no ability to get changes of clothes and it was pretty severe and pretty immediate,” Camera explained.

The municipality reportedly paid the Hamilton Avenue Army/Navy Store $185,000 in July for damages, clothes and generators.

Camera says he’s been told by their FEMA representatives that the OIG is looking into storm recovery spending in several communities, not just Seaside Heights. However, Camera says he didn’t expect this level of scrutiny so soon.

“Since this happened, people have told me that when you submit worksheets for FEMA claims, they go through several levels of approval immediately, but then years down the road sometimes their are federal audits and investigations of those claims,” Camera said.

However, Camera says he’s hopeful the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) investigation doesn’t hold up the borough’s FEMA reimbursements.

“We hope that all our claims are obligated and that we get our reimbursement, the 90 percent and that we are only left with a 10 percent local share. But if anything is not approved or ultimately turned over later, then the borough will have to deal with it.”

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