Superstorm victims begin 'Occupy Sandy' protest

January 18, 2014 12:01:40 PM PST
New Jersey homeowners recovering from Superstorm Sandy plan to camp outside the state capitol in what they're calling 'Occupy Christie'.

This comes after a federal audit was ordered to look into the spending of $25 million that went towards Governor Chris Christie's 'Stronger than the Storm' ad.

Beginning Saturday, volunteers and those affected by Sandy say they will spend the next four days leading up to Christie's inauguration for a second term Tuesday sleeping in front of the capitol building in Trenton.

The group, upset with how the state is distributing Sandy relief funding, arrived Saturday morning and planned to camp in an area across the street from the Statehouse.

The group claims middle class and poor people have not received their fair share of funding. It also claims black and Latino applicants have been disproportionately rejected for resettlement and construction grants and the needs of southern Jersey has been overlooked. Federal officials are investigating whether Christie improperly used Sandy relief funds to produce the tourism ads starring him and his family.

Assemblyman Frank Pallone says there is reason to believe there is a problem and that these are serious questions.

Pallone requested the audit in an original letter back in August, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development did a preliminary review.

"It's like a campaign ad, it features the governor's family and people in the middle of a campaign won't see the difference," said Pallone.

Christie spokesman Colin Reed says the federal government approved the campaign and that the administration expects a review will find it was effective.