More than $800K in Oakland Ghost Ship fire relief funds finally being distributed

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Nearly two months after Oakland's deadliest fire, money from the biggest victim's fundraiser is being distributed. (KGO-TV)

Nearly two months after Oakland's deadliest fire, money from the biggest victim's fundraiser is being distributed.

"If it's too much for them, if it's well beyond their experience then it should've been passed off to somebody else to handle," Ghost Ship fire survivor Carmen Brito told ABC7 News.


Brito says that the organization that collected money for Ghost Ship relief - an arts foundation called Gray Area - has yet to offer her any of the nearly $900,000 it has collected.

"I got an email from them today saying, 'OK, well we've verified that you were a resident.' Cool. I'm pretty sure the rest of the world knew that two days after the fire," Brito said.



The first of the distributions will begin this week. The foundation received more than 400 online claims for relief, many of which turned out to be fraudulent.

"It was really important for us to outline a diligence process and go through that legwork and have the data that we needed in order for us to do the job correctly," Gray Area Executive Director Josette Melchor said.


In the meantime, the Red Cross is sending its final Ghost Ship relief checks.

Wendi Maxwell's 32-year-old son Sam 'Peaches' Maxwell was badly hurt in the fire, and remains in a San Francisco hospital's burn unit.

Maxwell has received several checks for her son from the Red Cross, but found out Thursday after weeks of waiting that Gray Area's check would be on the way.

"The frustration with time is not so much a problem for me because Sam is somewhere safe. If I was trying to use the money right now, I would be horribly frustrated, and probably ticked off...I also understand that the Gray Area fund in particular, out of the goodness of their hearts, took this task on," Maxwell said.

Click here if you'd like to help Maxwell.
Related Topics:
newsghost ship firefatal firered crossfiredeadly firemoneyvictimsOakland
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