Funding snafu could cost city of Paterson $731,000 in grant money

Posted: Updated:
PATERSON -

A funding mix-up may end up costing the city of Paterson hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mayor Andre Sayegh is angry after learning the grant money awarded to the city last year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development could vanish soon.

The city used the grant money to purchase machinery for firefighters to demolish upward of 600 hazardous and fire damaged buildings. However, HUD officials stated that the grant could only be used to buy fire protection equipment, not demolition equipment.

The city may now be forced to give up $731,000. HUD officials notified the mayor of the problem right after being invited to a news conference Wednesday.

"I mean I was dejected yesterday, today I am angry," says Sayegh.

Mayor Sayegh says HUD pulled the plug at the last minute. He says the equipment would have helped take down blighted homes that are fire hazards.

The mayor is refusing to give up the money and is pulling out the big guns. He has reached out to Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Bill Pascrell. He says there is no way he will return equipment that was already approved.

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