Nassau County Sandy victims waiting nearly a year for tax refund checks

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Nina Pineda has the story. (WABC)

So many homes lost value after the storm and the news that money was coming back to taxpayers pockets was so welcome. Homeowner counted on it, yet 10 months after it was promised the checks were still AWOL.

"This was the kitchen," said Cindy Freifeld, a homeowner. That was what is left of it anyway, along with the rest of Freifeld's Oceanside, New York home, that was swallowed by Superstorm Sandy.

"I love this house it makes me sick to look at it," Freifeld said.

But last April there was some good news, a notice arrived in the mail promising a break on property taxes for some Nassau County homeowners whose homes are unlivable.

"About $6,000," Freifeld said. This was much needed money, refunds on two years of county taxes. Except the money never came.

"It's very frustrating," Freifeld said. "They're quick to take my money but not give it back. I've already paid two tax bills since that letter."

Christine Chu also hasn't seen a nickel of tax relief. She's owed more than $9,000 for her devalued Deer Park home.

"I went ahead with some repairs and this wound up sitting on my credit card," Chu said. "But I figured the government's telling you, you're getting the money you're getting the money."

Both women say they called and visited the Nassau County Tax Assessors Office last fall.

"We were told in November the check were cut, cut and sent," Chu said.

"That was unfortunate," said George Maragos, Nassau County Comptroller. He's in charge of cutting the checks. He says his office didn't even get the first files to process until eight months after homeowners were promised relief.

"There were a lot of errors with those files and we worked with tax assessors office to resolve those issues," Maragos said.

And a little more than a week after 7 On Your Side left the comptroller, Freifeld got more than $6,000 and Chu got $9,300. In total, that's more than $15,000.

"The check's in the mail came true. Thank you so much," Freifeld and Chu said.

Freifeld hopes to be back in her home by May.

A representative at the Nassau County Tax Assessors Office says nobody was ever instructed to tell homeowners checks were going out before the end of 2014. And great news, the comptroller told 7 On Your Side the last batch, about 2,000 checks, will go out the end of the month, and that's an estimated $18-20 million back.
Related Topics:
7 On Your Sidesuperstorm sandynassau county newsOceansideDeer Park
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