Bamboozled EXTRA: Sponsor cancels Sandy summit amid claims of misconduct

The “Superstorm Sandy Reconstruction Summit” isn’t going to happen — at least not in New Jersey.

Accusing the New Jersey Attorney General’s office of “gross overreach and misconduct” and “irrational hostility,” William “Bill” Loiry, the sponsor of the Dec. 17 “Superstorm Sandy Reconstruction Summit,” canceled the event today.

In a letter to Judge Harriet Klein, who heard a complaint from the state late Friday, Loiry said he will retain an attorney and “seek damages for the unwarranted and unscrupulous actions of the AG in this matter.”

Shortly after receiving Loiry’s letter, the judge granted the Attorney General’s request for a temporary restraining order against the summit. The state filing accused Loiry and his companies of several Consumer Fraud Act violations related to the event.

The state alleged Loiry and his businesses conducted business in the state under assumed names that are not registered, falsely implied that he and his activities are affiliated with or endorsed by federal, state, or local government agencies and ran misleading advertisements. It also asked that Loiry be forced to return money to those who paid for the summit, which took in $175 per person until Friday, after which the fee rose to $275.

Loiry said the AG has it all wrong.

“By releasing its half-baked allegations to the media at the same time it served its complaint on me, the AG has effectively destroyed any possibility for a successful Summit,” Loiry wrote to the judge.

“I’m not afraid of going up against the attorney general of New Jersey,” Loiry told The Star-Ledger.

Loiry said as the state investigated, it contacted government officials and disaster coordinators about the event. He said the attorney general’s office’s questions ensured “those who were confirmed to speak would withdraw and those who had not yet accepted would decline.”

But The Star-Ledger’s Bamboozled column spoke to many of those who Loiry said would attend, including The Red Cross and the Small Business Administration. Before the event cancellation, they told The Star-Ledger they would not be attending.

“The AG’s merciless allegations of consumer fraud and victim exploitation are based on nothing but innuendo and malicious hearsay,” Loiry said in the letter to the judge. “The AG, acting as both judge and jury, has already achieved its goal by labeling me as an unscrupulous carpet-bagger and forcing the cancellation of the Summit.”

Loiry said he will look for a new location for the event.

“Since the administration has now requested more than $60 billion for the entire region, we will attempt to relocate the Summit to Washington in January and focus on the benefits of this enormous allocation not just for New Jersey, but also for New York, Connecticut, and the other affected states,” Loiry said.