Report: North Carolina Hurricane Fund Distribution Broke Law

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RALEIGH — The General Assembly’s government watchdog agency says North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety broke the law and didn’t follow legislative directives when distributing $9 million after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

The report released Monday determined a lump-sum, up-front payment of over $5 million to one grant recipient violated state law. The Program Evaluation Division also says some of that money intended for emergency shelter and short-term housing benefited private developers and landlords, rather than directly helping hurricane survivors.

The state emergency management director told legislators the violation was inadvertent due to ignorance about the law. Mike Sprayberry says the questioned spending was designated for affordable housing projects in hurricane-ravaged areas.

Still, a legislative committee voted to send the report to other oversight committees and the state attorney general for review.