Lawmakers tangle over N.J. contract for Sandy cleanup

    New Jersey’s contract with a Florida company to remove Sandy debris came in for questioning at a legislative hearing in Trenton.

    Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democratic candidate for governor, criticized the Christie administration’s contract with AshBritt.

    “It appears to me at this point that the administration went out of its way to give a politically connected out-of-state firm a lucrative no-bid contract at double the price of its competitors,” Buono said Friday.

    AshBritt chief executive Randall Perkins says his company charged more so it could afford to hire New Jersey subcontractors for the cleanup.

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    “We would have been forced to bring contractors from around the country, and your contractors, your constituents, would have been sitting idle wondering whey they weren’t going to work,” Perkins said.

    Perkins expects New Jersey towns that contracted with the company will get FEMA reimbursement for the cleanup work.

    Republican lawmakers characterized the hearing as political grandstanding for Democrats seeking higher office.

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