Questions Raised About Unregistered Sandy Group’s Soliciting

A Sparta, N.J.-based Superstorm Sandy relief organization that has raised $1-million since the hurricane, claiming tax-exempt status on its Web site, has neither applied to the Internal Revenue Service nor registered with the state for charity status, according to the Asbury Park Press.

The Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation might also be skirting state law by soliciting donations on its site using the name of another, legally registered charity, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, which is led by the state’s first lady, Mary Pat Christie, the newspaper says. Two of the corporate “sponsors” listed on the site said they are not sponsoring the group.

The foundation is working with nonprofit-services firm CharityNet USA to prepare its IRS application, and co-founder John Sandberg said it has meted out about $500,000 in donated supplies and $150,000 in gift cards to community groups and storm victims. He said the group is working to dig out from under a backlog of aid requests to begin distributing more than $800,000 in cash it has raised.

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