Community supports 92-year-old Sandy victim Ida Terranova; neighbors defend contractor

A 92-year-old Sandy victim allegedly swindled by her contractor has received an outpouring of support, but others are coming out in defense of the contractor.

An online fundraiser was set up by Ida

An online fundraiser was set up by Ida Terranova's family in an attempt to get the great-grandmother back in her Green Island home that was destroyed by Sandy. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

TOMS RIVER - A 92-year-old Sandy victim allegedly swindled by her contractor has received an outpouring of support, but others are coming out in defense of the contractor.

An online fundraiser was set up by Ida Terranova's family in an attempt to get the great-grandmother back in her Green Island home that was destroyed by Sandy.

"I felt secure there," Terranova says. "I had good friends, my neighbors were wonderful to me. I had everything."

Joe Reiss, of Blue Diamond Construction in Monroe, is charged with theft by deception. He's accused of taking more than $300,000 from Terranova to make her home livable, but leaving it in shambles.

A News 12 New Jersey Facebook post has received hundreds of shares and comments from outraged viewers wondering why the contractor can't be found for restitution.

No one answered at Reiss' Hightstown home. But neighbors say the allegations don't sound like the father of five they know.

"The whole family is lovely," says Melissa Payne-Smith. "We're very fond of them. His daughters baby-sat my kids and I wouldn't suspect them of any wrongdoing."

Neither Reiss nor Glenn Cohen, the owner of Blue Diamond Construction, have returned News 12 New Jersey's requests for comment.

Terranova's family says several other contractors are offering their services free of charge. 

     

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A contractor in Ocean County is accused of leaving elderly Sandy victim Ida Terranova high and dry.

Fundraising page

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