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Report: More than 40 percent of Sandy donations unspent

ALBANY -- More than 40 percent of the money collected by New York-regulated charities for superstorm Sandy recovery hadn't been spent as of July, according to a new report by state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

The report, to be unveiled Thursday in Long Beach, also reveals that more than 40 gas stations have been penalized for price gouging and that 17 charities have reported they might use donations given during the Sandy aftermath for future disasters.

It also outlines instances where companies were forced to pay more than $5 million in back wages to Sandy relief workers. The bulk of the back pay went to National Grid hourly employees.

According to the report, charities raised $575 million by July but had spent $336 million -- leaving $238 million, or 42 percent, unspent, according to Schneiderman. His office, which oversees charities in New York, now "is assessing whether organizations have realistic plans and the capacity to use the funds they raised for Sandy relief," according to the report.

Additionally, some charities have indicated they might use funds for non-Sandy uses. Schneiderman said his office is requiring more information from them about the use of the funds and about the use of donations to pay operating costs.

Schneiderman, who announced during the summer that dozens of gas stations had been penalized for price gouging after the storm, said the total now stands at 43 stations paying $289,118 in penalties.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the date by which 40 percent of the funds remained unspent.

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