By John Burton
NEWARK — Funds donated to an unregistered Sandy Relief charity that state authorities charged misled donors, have been given to legitimate charities, according to the state Office of the Attorney General.
The Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation, which the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs filed suit against, distributed $225,000 to four charities, three registered with the Division of Consumer Affairs and one registered in New York, with the understanding that the funds would be used to benefit Sandy victims, the attorney general’s office said.
O.C.E.A.N., Inc, Toms River received $100,000 to help construct 12 three-bedroom single family homes in Berkeley Township. The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Neptune, got $50,000 to support its network of food pantries that provided food for thousands of families impacted by Sandy. The Alliance Center for Independence, Edison, was awarded $50,000 for projects aiding those with disabilities. And Graybeards, Ltd., Rockaway, N.Y., got $25,000 to help ongoing rebuilding projects in the area.
Another $100,000 will be distributed in the near future, authorities said.
The Division of Consumer Affairs filed suit in 2013, alleging the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation and its principals, John Sandberg and Christina Terraccino, violated state statues by operating an unregistered charity and diverting donated funds for personal use, misrepresenting that the donations were tax-deductable and were going to a duly registered tax-exempt organization and were tax deductible.
The division reached a settlement with the organization in June 2013, in which a court appointed administrator took control of the accounts and organized the funds’ distribution. Under the settlement agreement, the company principals also agree to being permanently prohibited from soliciting donations in New Jersey for Sandy-related purposes, and are prevented from serving for two years in leadership roles in any New Jersey-based charitable organization, authorities said.