Federal funds run out for flood victims

October 12, 2010 4:28:36 PM PDT
Cook County flood victims have been left high and dry after all employees assigned to the Cook County Disaster Relief program left the job recently when federal funding was terminated.

The I-Team had been looking into delays and allegations of misspending at Cook County's flood relief program for months. Even though there are still countless claims from 2008 flood victims to be processed, the I-Team has learned that all the federal money has been spoken for; all flood relief staffers, including the director, are gone and county officials are scrambling to answer our questions.

When the I-Team first met Marilyn McGuire she was praying that Cook County would make good on its promise to reimburse her for thousands in flood damage to her South Side home.

"The basement flooded and I got about 2 to 2 and 1/2 feet of water," said McGuire.

Then, when the county threw a picnic at the zoo last month for water-logged homeowners, McGuire and some other 2008 flood victims were angry because they hadn't received their money and there were flood program officials putting out a catered buffet and handing out door prizes.

The I-Team has learned that disaster grant director Barry Croall and his six remaining staffers are no longer working for the county and other working on flood relief applications have been reassigned to other county jobs. That is because all $10.3 million in 2008 federal flood aid has been distributed. There is no more money for salaries or victims, including Marilyn McGuire, who says she is just not satisfied with how she was treated.

"No I'm not. I still have mold in the basement and I cannot live here because if have sarcoidosis, the mold is detrimental to me. Where to turn to now? Where to go? I just want everyone to know I'm not looking for a handout. I work. I pay taxes. I do everything that is expected of me and when I expect some help from the government, what do I get?" said McGuire.

A spokesman for county president Todd Stroger late Tuesday told the I-Team that officials have now met to figure out how to handle the remaining flood relief paperwork and leftover applications now that all disaster employees are gone.

The I-Team will be keeping an eye on this situation. If you are a 2008 Cook County flood victim and not satisfied with the county's response, send us an email: iteam@abc.com and we may take a look at your situation.


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