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AHH 24-Hr. News

IMAGE Monmouth University’s Science, Society, and Sustainability Seminar Series Presents Governor Florio on February 3
Sunday, 25 January 2015
Former Governor James J. Florio will speak at Monmouth University Feb. 3 West Long Branch, N.J. - Monmouth University’s Science, Sustainability, and Society Series, sponsored by the School of Science and Urban Coast Institute, presents a... Read More...
IMAGE Call for Entries - Monmouth County Park System 2015 Spring Arts Festival
Sunday, 25 January 2015
PICTURED –This carved rim bowl is an example of the artwork created at the Thompson Park Creative Arts Center. LINCROFT —  Calling all artists!  There’s still time to submit an entry into the Monmouth County Park System’s Spring... Read More...
IMAGE "If You Can See It, You Can Be It!" Contest Open to Students Grade 1-5
Sunday, 25 January 2015
Students in grades 1 – 5 called to create and submit characters that will star in an animated cartoon short to raise awareness of gender stereotypes in media.  Fair Haven, NJ – Small Factory Productions invites students... Read More...
IMAGE BSA Troop 32 Honors Two New Eagle Scouts - Jablonski, Katzgrau
Sunday, 25 January 2015
PHOTO: Middletown Boy Scout Troop 32 honors its Newest Eagle Scouts. From left: Timothy Katzgrau and Andrew Jablonski, both of Middletown. Middletown, New Jersey – Boy Scouts of America Troop 32’s leadership, scouts, friends, and family... Read More...
Catholic Schools Week 2015 to Feature Events Throughout Diocese
Saturday, 24 January 2015
Catholic Schools Week to feature events throughout Diocese TRENTON, NJ – Catholic schools throughout of the Diocese of Trenton – in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties – will join counterparts across the country and open their... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE What’s that Flock in the Bay?
by Joe Reynolds
Sunday, 25 January 2015
This was a week of counting wintering water-birds. The other day I looked out onto New York Harbor and saw a large raft of diving ducks. I counted at... Read More...
IMAGE Just Sayin...
by Anne Mikolay
Sunday, 25 January 2015
While watching this month's news broadcasts, I have concluded the world is steeped in irony. This tendency to fore-go common sense and do the... Read More...
IMAGE Father Trying to Build Understanding
by Daniel J. Vance
Saturday, 24 January 2015
You won't find too many dads that love like this. Joseph Hernandez of Auburn, Washington, knew before his son's birth that his son would have a birth... Read More...
IMAGE My Encounters with Police Officers
by George Hancock-Stefan
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
During the past few months when there has been so much discussion about police officers, I started to think a lot about how I view police officers,... Read More...
IMAGE An Untold Story - Part 1
by Daniel Murphy
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
This is a subject that I have not written or talked about before.  Some people, I am sure, will be looking at me as if I have finally lost a bit... Read More...

Upcoming Events

NEWARK – Continuing the State’s commitment to investigate and follow through on each complaint of fraud related to Superstorm Sandy, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that the State Division of Consumer Affairs has filed new lawsuits against businesses accused of price gouging during the storm’s immediate aftermath.

“Anyone paying attention in New Jersey knows we will not tolerate illegal attempts to take financial advantage of anyone affected by Superstorm Sandy,” Attorney General Chiesa said.  “We continue to investigate the more than 2,000 consumer complaints that were received during the storm’s immediate aftermath, even as we watch for possible new types of post-disaster fraud.”

The newest lawsuits include a Studio Inn and Suites hotel in Galloway, accused of raising its room rates by as much as 283 percent during the days following the storm, and a Berkeley Hotel in Asbury Park, accused of raising its room rates by as much as 117 percent.  The two hotels allegedly engaged in a total of more than 460 incidents of price gouging.

The State is also suing a C&M Exxon gas station, in East Hanover, which is accused of raising its prices for regular gasoline by as much as 26.3 percent, and for premium by as much as 34.2 percent.  According to the State’s lawsuits, none of the three businesses faced higher costs that would have justified the price increases during a declared state of emergency.  Such conduct is prohibited under New Jersey’s price gouging law.

“The victims of price gouging are families who were displaced from their homes, desperate for shelter, heat, and fuel as a result of the most severe natural disaster in New Jersey’s history,” Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs, said.  “We owe it to these New Jersey residents to see every allegation of price gouging to its proper end.”

The defendants in the newest lawsuits are:

Devsatya, Inc., doing business as Studio Inn & Suites, at 257 East White Horse Pike, Galloway.  Between October 27 and November 13 this hotel allegedly raised its rates by as much as 283 percent above the prices charged for the same rooms prior to the state of emergency. The hotel allegedly engaged in a total of 183 instances of price gouging during the state of emergency.

Berkeley Hotel LLC, doing business as The Berkeley Hotel, at 1401 Ocean Parkway, Asbury Park.  Between October 27 and November 11, this hotel allegedly raised its rates by as much as 117 percent above the prices charged for the same rooms prior to the state of emergency.  The hotel allegedly engaged in a total of 280 instances of price gouging during the state of emergency.

East Hanover Amoco, Inc., doing business as C&M Exxon, at 29 Ridgedale Avenue, East Hanover.  This gas station allegedly charged as much as $4.799 for credit card sales of regular gasoline – an increase of 26.3 percent above its price prior to the state of emergency.  The business allegedly charged as much as $5.099 for credit card sales of premium gasoline – an increase of 34.2 percent above the price prior to the state of emergency.  

New Jersey’s price gouging statute prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency or for 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency.  Excessive price increases are defined as more than 10 percent higher than the price at which merchandise was sold during the normal course of business prior to the state of emergency.  If a merchant faces additional costs during the emergency, prices may not exceed 10 percent above the normal markup from cost.

In addition to the three new price gouging lawsuits, the State has also filed three actions in Superior Court to enforce subpoenas it previously served on companies accused by consumers of price gouging during Sandy’s aftermath.  The companies failed to comply with the State’s request for information regarding the allegations, and the State is suing to enforce their compliance.

To date, the State has filed suit against a total of 27 businesses – 15 hotels and 12 gas stations – for alleged price gouging during the Superstorm Sandy emergency.  Two of the lawsuits have been settled, with two gas stations agreeing to collectively pay $46,000.

The State Division of Consumer Affairs is part of New Jersey’s Statewide Sandy Fraud Working Group, created by Attorney General Chiesa. Victims or witnesses of fraud committed in the aftermath of Sandy, including but not limited to home repair fraud, insurance fraud, and fraudulent charitable solicitations, should contact the Working Group at 855-SANDY39 (855-726-3939) or www.StopSandyFraud.org.

Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook, and check our online calendar of upcoming Consumer Outreach events.