02/20/04 FEMA Has A Secret
In question is nearly $31 million paid out to Miami-Dade County residents following Hurricane Frances.
02/18/04 Storm Aid Data Kept Private
Despite congressional criticism and federal probes into nearly $31 million paid to Miami-Dade County
residents after Hurricane Frances, the Federal Emergency Management Agency refuses to make public the names or addresses of
the people who got the money.
FEMA argues that a federal privacy law, dating back three decades, forbids it from doing anything
to identify individuals who apply for or receive its grants.
02/12/04 More Than 100 Floridians Report Fraud Related To FEMA Grantshttp://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/nation/10886356.htm
Since Hurricane Charley slammed the state Aug. 13, the first of four last season, more than 110 people
throughout Florida have contacted the state Attorney General to report fraud against the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
They told of applicants pouring water on their belongings, collecting checks for furniture they didn't own and claiming damage
to appliances that weren't working before the storms.
Fraud from the hurricanes has so far focused on Miami-Dade, where FEMA's payments of $30.8 million
to residents of a county spared any hurricane-force conditions has touched off a U.S. Senate committee investigation.
01/30/04 FEMA Mistakes Widen
Skeptics wondered why FEMA paid more than $30 million in disaster relief to more than 10,000 Miami-Dade
residents for claims after Hurricane Frances, though the storm made landfall 100 miles north of the county. Agency officials
this month blamed a "computer glitch" for duplicate aid payments of about $12 million to 3,500 Floridians, some of them in
Miami-Dade. FEMA also is claiming that sustained wind speeds in the Miami area were higher than reported, a contention that
has left meteorologists and politicians perplexed.
The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., reports that FEMA sent $20 million in aid after
Hurricane Frances struck, but more than $11 million of it went to six counties where damage was minimal or nonexistent. According
to the newspaper, about 1,200 people in Bladen County got $2.6 million in checks, though the storm left no significant wind
damage and only 1 inch of rain. Local emergency officials say the number of claims has far outpaced the number of people who
01/31/04 Fraud Concerns Raised In NC Over FEMA Grants
More than $11 million of the $20 million in relief funds for North Carolina residents affected by
the remnants of Hurricane Frances has gone to those living in the six counties south of the Research Triangle, according to
recent FEMA statistics.
But the storm did relatively little damage in Bladen, Cumberland, Hoke, Scotland, Roberson and Columbus
counties — all of which were declared disaster areas, while it did cause extensive flooding in the mountains of North
In Columbus County, which suffered minimal damage due to tornadoes, 1,670 residents received $4.2
million in federal aid, according to FEMA numbers.
01/23/04 PA Gets 80.8M In FEMA Grants
The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave about $80.8 million in grants to more than 24,000 Pennsylvanians
hit by the remnants of Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne, the storms that inundated towns statewide in the second half of September.
Add in FEMA grants to local governments and Small Business Administration loans, and the state received
about $139.6 million in federal money in the wake of the storms.
That's far less than the $551 million given to Alabama and the $3.63 billion given to Florida, two
states that were battered by several hurricanes last year.
Philadelphia, which wasn't part of the federal disaster declaration until Jeanne's rain filled the
city's basements, had the biggest share of rejections -- 3,273. Nearly 5,000 in that city received FEMA money, mostly in the
form of smaller grants than those given to Allegheny County residents. Philadelphians who qualified received an average federal
aid check of $2,117, almost half of Allegheny County's average of $4,166.
In all, the state's largest city got $10.6 million, almost entirely in grants to individuals. Only
nine people in the city applied for SBA loans, and the city didn't have enough damage to warrant federal reimbursement for
A dozen people in Potter County qualified for a total of $27,043, and the governments there received
only about $84,000. Clinton County, on Potter County's south border, has about twice Potter's population of 18,000 but received
nearly 100 times as much aid -- $2.6 million in individual grants and loans.
01/25/04 FL Rep. Robert Wexler Wants President Bush To Fire Head Of FEMA
In a letter sent to the president Monday, Wexler said Brown should be fired for his "failure to address
agency fraud including a massive misallocation of recovery aid funds in Florida."
FEMA, now part of the Department of Homeland Security, paid more than $30 million in disaster relief
to more than 10,000 Miami-Dade County residents for claims made after Hurricane Frances, which came ashore 100 miles north
of that county.At a Jan. 11 news conference, FEMA officials blamed a "computer glitch" for $12
million in payments to 3,500 people, but Wexler said the agency is still excusing its actions on unattributed weather reports
of hurricane activity in the county.
01/24/04 FEMA Grants Raise Questions
The federal government has given $20 million to North Carolinians who suffered damage when Tropical
Storm Frances passed through the state last fall. But even though the storm did the worst damage in the western mountains,
more than half of those federal dollars have gone to people in six eastern counties.
More than $2.6 million in federal storm aid has gone to nearly 1,200 people in Bladen County, where
the county seat of Elizabethtown got 1 inch of rain during Frances.
Emergency officials in Bladen and Cumberland, where residents got a total of nearly $3 million, say
they had no reported storm damage. In Robeson and Columbus, where residents got more than $7.9 million, officials say claims
have far outpaced the number of people who suffered storm damage.
02/16/04 Homeowners Weigh Costs Of Salvaging Or Selling Homes
The Federal Emergency Management Administration offers two grant options to residents in this case.
One would pay 75 percent of the cost to elevate homes above the 100-year flood level; the other would pay 75 percent of the
cost to buy out the properties and raze the houses. The homeowners would have to pick up the remaining 25 percent.
All 60 property owners, which include 46 houses and 14 vacant parcels, chose the buy-out option.
One agency that might be willing to make up part of the remaining 25 percent is the Ottawa County
Parks and Recreation Department, he said.
The parks department purchased adjacent land along the river recently as part of a proposed greenbelt
and may be willing to pay up to $300,000 for the residential properties, Knudsen said. That would reduce the resident's portion
to 20 percent, he said.
Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the state police toured the area
Jan. 31 and "determined 17 homes had been affected by flooding, four had sustained minor damage, and two had sustained major
Robinson Township Supervisor Bernice Berens said the estimate was too low and planned to challenge
the numbers in a separate letter to the governor's office.
One resident at the meeting noted the area had been declared a disaster area in 1985 and 1994, when
smaller floods occurred, and wondered why it was being denied during the larger flood last month.