February 24, 2015

N.J. Charity's Sandy Grant Fuels Probe of Lawmaker's Spouse

The New Jersey Attorney General's office is investigating a dispute between a housing nonprofit and a state legislator's husband, whom the charity claims sought Hurricane Sandy relief funds to turn a shore bungalow into a luxury home, according to NJ Advance Media.

Coastal Habitat for Humanity said Richard Stender certified the storm-damaged structure in Manasquan, N.J., as his primary residence, a requirement for receiving the aid. His wife, Assemblywoman Linda Stender, lives in Scotch Plains, in her district, as mandated by the state constitution. The charity also says Mr. Stender listed only his own pay in his application, not his wife's, thereby meeting maximum-income requirements.

The nonprofit said that after it spent $11,000 to demolish the bungalow, the Stenders presented architectural plans for a new, five-bedroom home more than triple the size of the original. NJ Advance Media reports that Ms. Stender has told legislative colleagues she and her husband have different primary residences. She did not respond to requests for further comment.