What Doesn’t the Red Cross Want Us to Know About Hurricane Sandy Aid Money?

Hurricane Sandy, the storm that hit the East coast over a year and a half ago, continues to impact families and individuals, some of whom still badly need assistance. Shockingly, one of the country’s most illustrious aid agencies may not be allocating relief resources effectively.

According to a recent report, the Red Cross has been less than forthcoming regarding how it spent over $311 million the agency raised in the aftermath of the 2012 hurricane. When nonprofit news source ProPublica submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to learn about the aid organization’s use of Sandy relief funds, the Red Cross quickly hired a law firm to help block the request.

The Red Cross claims certain aspects of their financial records qualify as “trade secrets,” which would pose potential harm to the organization if made public. The Red Cross claims to have spent – or to have committed to spend – $98 million on casework and individual assistance, $33 million on relief products, $50 million on housing, $94 million on food and shelter, and $25 million on emergency vehicles and healthcare. If those allocations happened, then why is the aid organization holding back? What, exactly, in their records are they worried about people seeing?

One detail the organization may be attempting to hide is the wage disparity many relief workers experienced during and after the disaster. Although many of the projects the Red Cross completed at the time qualified as publicly funded projects, numerous workers complained that they did not receive the “prevailing wage” of about $40 per hour or the overtime rate (when applicable) of about $60 per hour. There have also been allegations employees did not receive appropriate holiday or Sunday pay.

Do those wage discrepancies comprise part of the information the Red Cross wishes to conceal?

If you suspect your employer of engaging in unlawful wage practices, or if you have questions about a Hurricane Sandy related wage and hour case, contact the respected New York employment lawyers at Joseph & Kirschenbaum today at (212) 688-5640 or info@jhllp.com to discuss your legal options.