Ocean County NJ Towns Overcharged $325K For Hurricane Sandy Debris Removal

debris-removal-imageHurricane Sandy caused so much damage to towns in Ocean County, New Jersey that town officials had to hire out-of-state contractors to haul away the tons of debris scattered along the shore and inland.  While the clearing of debris was a long and expensive undertaking, it resulted in a bit of a scandal when New Jersey’s Comptroller recently reported that nine Ocean County towns were overcharged more than $325,000.

No “Persuasive Evidence” Of Overbilling

That’s how State Comptroller Matthew Boxer summarized the matter.  According to a recent article in New Jersey’s TomsRiverPatch, a Florida-based disaster management company, AshBritt Inc., overbilled the towns $328,942.  The charges have been described as “questionable, erroneous and miscalculated.”  However, getting it resolved took some effort.

The article reported that AshBritt handled debris removal for many municipalities in Ocean County, including Brick, Bay Head, Little Silver, Mantoloking, Point Pleasant Beach and Berkeley Township.  However, three separate debris-removal “monitors” (Arcadis U.S., Inc., the Louis Berger Group, Inc. and Witt O’Brien’s, LLC.) were responsible for calculating the transport mileage supporting each invoice and recommending whether payment should be made by the municipality.

The State’s investigation found that several factors contributed to questionable charges, including the absence of specific standards for calculating debris transport mileage, vague contractual language and logistical factors unique to Ocean County.  However, they concluded that the massive overbilling was not intentional, and all of the contractors have agreed to reimburse Ocean City immediately.

The Importance Of Making Things Right

That’s important – and simply the decent and ethical thing to do.  Unfortunately, not every company abides by that philosophy.

It’s been nearly a year since Hurricane Sandy hit, and many homeowners are still fighting with their insurance companies over disputed settlement amounts, improperly calculated deductibles, undervalued claims, unfair settlement proposals and denied claims.

If your insurer has engaged in any bad faith insurance practices, contact Belluck & Fox and let one of our experienced New York insurance dispute attorneys analyze your situation, get your claim settled and determine whether you might be entitled to other compensation for bad faith insurance practices.