Hoboken Mayor claims Christie administration tied Sandy aid to development deal
STATE — Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno allegedly told Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that Hurricane Sandy aid for the city hinged on local approval for a development project there.
During an appearance on MSNBC’s Up With Steve Kornacki, Zimmer said that last May, both Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and state Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable applied pressure on the mayor to approve the Rockefeller Development project after the city Planning Board rejected the proposed plan.
“She pulled me aside and said, ‘I know this is not right, I know they should not be connected but they are,’” Zimmer told Kornacki.
Kornacki redcently made headlines when he floated a the theory that Christie’s staff engineered the George Washington Bridge closure to scare off a potential developer more than as political retribution against the Fort Lee Mayor who refused to endorse the Republican Governor.
Port Authority Commissioner David Samson is a key partner in the law firm representing the Rockefeller Group.
Zimmer said Constable also approached her about the connection between the development project and Sandy aid.
Zimmer alleged that while Constable was seated with her during a television show about the Sandy recovery effort on May 17, he said, “If you move that forward, the money would start flowing.”
Lisa M. Ryan, a spokesperson for Constable, released this statement: “Mayor Zimmer’s allegation that on May 16, 2013, Commissioner Constable conditioned Hoboken’s receipt of Sandy aid on her moving forward with a development project is categorically false.”
Pages from a diary that Zimmer produced appear to confirm Guadagno, the acting governor whenever Gov. Chris Christie is out of state on vacation, fundraising for other Republicans or advancing his possible run for president, pulled her aside in a parking lot and threatened that the city ciould lose Hurricane Sandy aid if the Rockefeller Development project stalled.
Another section of the diary implicated Constable.
Zimmer shared the diary entry, which said: “At the end of a big tour of ShopRite and meeting, she pulls me aside with no one else around and says that I need to move forward with the Rockefeller project. It is very important to the governor. The word is that you are against it and you need to move forward or we are not going to be able to help you. I know it’s not right – these things should not be connected – but they are, she says, and if you tell anyone, I will deny it.”
The diary entry concluded with the lines: “My beloved governor who wants to run for President. I cannot understand it. Why is he so concerned about Rockfeller? What has he promised them? What have they promised him? I cannot figure it out but I have no option but to stand up to him.”
Zimmer, who had praised Christie on education privatization, charter schools and property tax policies, declined to endorse the Republican in his contest against Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono.
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