Small Businesses Still Waiting On Sandy Money - My9 New Jersey

Small Businesses Still Waiting On Sandy Money

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Toms River, NJ (My9NJ) - The owner of Tom’s River’s Healthy and Delicious Grill, Gregg Ciafarone, says he is struggling to pay off his credit card bills that he racked up while getting his small business back up and running after Superstorm Sandy.

“I had to use all my credit cards to try and get back on my feet, now I’m back on my feet but I still have my credit card debt that I’d like to take care of,” he explained.

Ciafarone lost about $8,000 in equipment, $4,000 worth of food and well over $10,000 in business when his shop had to be shut down when they had no electricity in the area. All of these losses qualify him for Sandy relief grants.

"I applied about 8 months ago. I qualified from everything I understood and I still haven’t gotten it. I've dealt with probably three different reps so far and no luck," he said.

Ciafarone described mass disorganization within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority who is in control of these small business grants.

A representative for the NJEDA, Virginia Pellerin, said that they are committed to approving and assisting as many eligible businesses as possible, but also recognize that they must manage the taxpayer money that funds the program responsibly.

The New Jersey Main Street Alliance is a group representing small businesses in the state and they are calling for an investigation into the use or misuse of these funds by the Christie administration.

$85.9 million allotted to the program has not been distributed. That means only $14.1 million has.

So far only 292 businesses in New Jersey have been given grants, leaving about 3,000 who have applied and are still waiting.


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