Criminal Investigation of Greene County Town Destroyed by Hurricane Irene
As reported by the Times Union, a criminal investigation has been launched on both a state and federal level into reported misuse of funds in the town of Prattsville, NY after Hurricane Irene. As someone who grew up a mere few miles from Prattsville, I can certainly attest to the tragedy that struck that town from the hurricane. I can recall seeing National Guard trucks stationed and parked in the lot across from my house, the rallying of our small community to collect clothing and food for people down the road who lost everything, and most specifically the hollow feeling of driving down the road to where my local grocery market used to be, to see nothing by utter destruction. Houses with red "X" marks all in a row, trees uprooted, the road ahead of me upturned. For a town with a population of less than 500, you can say Hurricane Irene was beyond "devastating"- it was "obliterating."
So to see this news of a criminal investigation years later is also a bit heartbreaking. According to the Times Union, multiple agencies- including the FBI- are involved in investigating how approximately $5 million dollars of funds was used. As someone who still takes frequent trips to Prattsville, I can certainly say the town has rebuilt itself- my local grocery store is back and better than ever, there are even new shops and stores in the marketplace, and houses are popping back up. And that in itself is a miracle to see. However, it is reported that town officials may have misused up to tens of thousands of dollars of the aid that Prattsville received, and it seems there is certainly a conflict between certain town residents and town officials regarding the handling of aid money and where it was allocated. Also reported by the Times Union, subpoenas were served last week on town hall, and even private computers were seized.
And for those who may not have been in New York at the time, or aren't familiar with Greene County, here's a few photos from the Schoharie Creek, which decimated Prattsville, during and after Hurricane Irene: