Gov. Chris Christie is defending the use of some of New Jersey’s federal Sandy aid to help boardwalk businesses in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park damaged by last week’s fire.
Because Sandy was a contributing factor to the cause of the fire, Christie said, the Obama administration has no problem with using some of the grant and loan program funds to help those businesses recover.
“The intent of the business money that the federal government sent was to restore business in these communities,” the governor said Wednesday. “And the fact is that this was contributed to by Sandy and is now going to diminish the business activity in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights where we already are expending money to try to build up the business community.”
Christie said the money used to help restore those businesses will not affect the funding used to help residents who suffered Sandy damage get back in their homes because the money stems from two different sources.
He says the state will also be getting more federal aid for Sandy recovery.
The fire started in electrical wires beneath the stands for Kohr’s Frozen Custard and Biscayne Candies on the southern end of the Seaside Park boardwalk.
Several factors probably contributed to the problem, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato. Although the wiring could have failed on its own, it was damaged by water and sand as a result of Sandy, he said.