On Saturday, February 20, 2016, Newsday reported, “The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery began sending out debt notice letters this month to applicants the agency believes were ineligible for housing rehabilitation and elevation money or received payments for the same work.
“About 25 to 30 letters will go out in the initial batch this month—mostly to applicants in Nassau and Suffolk counties—notifying people the state wants the money returned.
“The amounts so far in question range from $4,500 to $180,000….”
Andrew Cuomo is a tough task manager. He expects his appointees to work hard and get it right. So, the news that the Governor’s Storm Office would be requiring Sandy victims to return up to $180,000 could not have been well-received. Anyone who has ever worked with FEMA knows it is…slow. Slower than a sloe gin fizz. Slower than a North Hempstead building inspector. Hence, it is likely that FEMA told Kaiman and the State weeks ago that the State would have to “clawback” (in the vernacular) funds from Long Islanders.
Kaiman and his agency dropping the ball may explain Kaiman’s abrupt departure from State service and his bizarre Newsday telephone interview announcing his candidacy for Congress.
Residents of the Town of North Hempstead who lived through the scandals at the Town Building Department, subsequent arrests, lengthy trials and criminal convictions should not be surprised by this turn of events.
Mr. Kaiman: You were paid $153,000 annually, to serve as Special Adviser to Governor Cuomo on Long Island Superstorm Sandy Relief. Under your watch, how and why did ineligible Long Island residents receive disaster recovery money?
Mr. Kaiman: What exactly did you do every day to earn your $153,000 annually?
Mr. Kaiman: Will you release your meetings/luncheon calendar for the period you were Special Assistant to Governor Cuomo on Long Island Superstorm Sandy relief? If you decline to do so, please explain?
Did you abruptly resign your Special Assistant post in February because you knew the Newsday story, “N.Y. Sends Out Letters: Sandy Victims owe $59 Million” was about to be published? Or did you resign because you feared you would be fired?
Mr. Kaiman: Will you publicly apologize for being asleep at the switch when you were Special Assistant on Long Island Superstorm Sandy relief?