NY Rising recipients say contractor hasn’t completed work

Posted: Updated:

Some homeowners in Freeport claim they paid a contractor roughly $70,000 in New York Rising grants over the last two years to raise their homes, but the work has not been completed.

Homeowners say the assistance program for Superstorm Sandy victims has a June 1 deadline. If the homes are not elevated by then, they say they will be forced out of the program.

MORE: Superstorm Sandy Coverage

Lily Gonzalez says she never imagined that after two years, her Sandy-damaged home would still be sitting on sand and rocks in Freeport. The mother of five signed a contract with Fred Gutterman of JBJ General Contracting to raise her home two years ago and she says nothing has been done.  The Spyratos family just down the street says they are in the same predicament. 

Homeowners told News 12 that they have asked New York Rising for an extension and that they have filed complaints against JBJ General Contracting with the Nassau District Attorney’s Office and the Nassau County Consumer Affairs Office. 

News 12 reached out to Gutterman for comment but did not hear back. Nassau officials tell News 12 that Gutterman never had a contractor's license with the county. 

A spokesperson for the Nassau DA told News 12, “We are reviewing complaints regarding this contractor. The district attorney takes allegations of contractor fraud very seriously and each allegation is investigated thoroughly.”

Nassau officials say the county's Consumer Affairs Department has 43 open complaints against Gutterman. 

The governor's Office of Storm Recovery says that applicants who have demonstrable hardship cases with the office will not be penalized. They say an investigator is reviewing these cases and working with law enforcement. 

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