Hempstead supervisor: State 'likely' to conduct review of Building Department

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The state will likely investigate the Town of Hempstead Building Department, according to Town Supervisor Laura Gillen.

Homeowners who suffered damage after Superstorm Sandy claim they were given wrong or misleading information about what repairs could be made or had to be made to their homes.

The department had done preliminary damage assessments or PDAs on residents' homes. These were reportedly not shared with the homeowners.

"Thousands of homeowners in the town were never notified that there were PDAs done on their home after Sandy and that they could be living in potentially, substantially damaged homes that require elevation," Gillen said.

Mike Cascio, of Oceanside, says he learned of the inspection five years after Superstorm Sandy damaged his home. By that time, government money to cover the cost was not available.

Cascio filed a lawsuit to get exempted from having to raise his house. He was successful, but says others in his situation may not be as lucky.

"I'm sure there's others out there who may not even know or may not have the means to fight this," Cascio said.

Last month, Gillen proposed to hire a firm to do an audit of the town's Building Department but the Republican-led town board rejected the proposal. Republicans called the audit a political stunt and say they have already put reforms in place at the Building Department.

The town supervisor says she also wants the state to look into allegations of preferential treatment within the Building Department when it comes to issuing permits. She says the state is already doing a financial audit of the Building Department.

The Hempstead Town building inspector had no comments about the criticism of his department.

 

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