A Sandy relief group that has raised $1 million in cash is not a tax-exempt organization, as it claims, nor is it registered in New Jersey to operate as a charity, an Asbury Park Press investigation found.
In addition, the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation, run by a Sparta couple, solicits funds on its website using the name of a legally registered charity headed by New Jersey first lady Mary Pat Christie, theHurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. State law prohibits such practices, according to the state Division of Consumer Affairs, which regulates charities.
Also, HSRF’s co-founder, John Sandberg, claims to have a degree from Seton Hall University, yet the school’s registrar’s office says he didn’t graduate. Two of the corporate “sponsors” cited on the HSRF website, www.sandyrelief.org, say they aren’t sponsoring the foundation. To maximize the website’s visibility, Sandberg says he registered 120 different Internet domain names related to Sandy relief. Last week, his site ranked No. 1 in a Google search for “Sandy relief fund,” ahead of the American Red Cross, the Robin Hood Foundation, and Mrs. Christie’s charity.
Read more at the Asbury Park Press