7 On Your Side
Sandy victim hit with DMV fees
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit, a man from Gerritsen Beach got another hit, a big fee from the DMV.
Half of Joe Militano's home is uninhabitable.
It was gutted after being submerged under seven feet of Sandy's surge.
But weeks after the storm, he says he got one more punch in the gut.
He got a fine of $136 from the New York State DMV.
"I tried to explain to her we were in a disaster zone it didn't matter to her," said Joe Militano, Sandy victim.
His Chevy was the problem.
"When you finally got out to look at your cars what was the shape of this one?" 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda asked.
"This was submerged underwater," Militano said.
The engine was caked in salt.
The interior still holds some of the surge.
"It's all soaking wet," Militano said.
The car was a total loss, so Joe canceled the insurance coverage, normally plates have to be turned in immediately to DMV.
"After all the devastation down here and the cars, I had no way of getting there. Plus the motor vehicle department was under water also," Militano said.
The Coney Island DMV was shuttered from storm damage, trains weren't running, and Joe's house had no power for two weeks.
"Everything was destroyed," Militano said.
When he finally made it to the DMV, Joe was told he had racked up a civil penalty.
If he didn't pay up, his license would be suspended after Christmas.
"I transferred the plates but they still said there was 17 days lapsed when I didn't turn the plates in," Militano said.
So he paid the fine and called 7 On Your Side.
A DMV spokesperson blamed Joe's insurance company for wrongly canceling his insurance when it should've just shifted it to his other car.
The DMV will refund the penalty and Joe's registration and license are clear.
"It took some doing but you guys did it, so thank you!" Militano said.
The DMV said it did waive late fee and penalties for victims of the storm but in Joe's case there was the DMV that said it never knew he was affected by the storm.
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