By Naeisha Rose
Hurricane Sandy has been nothing but a headache for New York Hospital Police Officer William Grusel.
After the storm burst through his one-bedroom garden ground floor Howard Beach apartment, which was inundated by five feet of saltwater, he lost around $23,000 in property and clothes, according to Grusel. But he only got back $684.88 to replace what he had lost at his Howard Beach home.
“I grabbed my wife, I grabbed my cat and I grabbed my birds and we went to my mother-in-law’s home in Woodhaven,” Grusel said.
Grusel said he had bought new furniture a year before in 2011 after Hurricane Irene damaged his property.
“Sandy came a year later and took everything, so that’s why I got upset when they gave me a $600 check and everyone around me was getting $6,000,” said Grusel.
After he was hit by Sandy on on Oct. 31, 2012, he had his home evaluated.
Grusel believes the adjuster might have mixed up his paperwork with someone who lived in an apartment which he said was smaller than his 648-square-foot apartment.
In fact, a neighbor who had a studio apartment received $5,614.31 for his personal property.
FEMA sent Grusel a $2,486 check for rental assistance and Kevin Sullivan, a spokesman for the federal agency in New York, said he would looking into the loss of his personal property.
When Grusel approached FEMA, the agency sent a letter saying “it was noted that the landlord owned most of the personal belonging items.”
Grusel confronted his landlord, but the landlord said he had not claimed any of his tenant’s furniture and had nothing to do with the issue.
Grusel said he lost an oak table, a china cabinet, a leather cabinet, a television, drums, clothing, and equipment from his private investigative work. He also lost dining and bedroom furniture. He was not even trying to get reimbursement for lost Yankees and Steelers memorabilia, which were damaged in the saltwater and will no longer be of value.
Grusel said the check for over $600 were for items he did not own.
The claim adjuster said“it was for a toaster, a 13-inch TV and a kitchen table, but I don’t have any of those items.”
Since Hurricane Sandy hit on Oct. 29, 2012, Grusel has spent $10,000 replacing his lost furniture while taking care of his son who had testicular cancer.
As the years have gone by, Grusel said he would settle for just being compensated for the additional money he had to spend to replace what was lost in the superstorm.
“I don’t want anybody’s job, I just want a correction or for somebody to look into it,” said Grusel, 65, who is hoping to retire in the New Year. “The $600 is a disgrace and a slap in the face.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose