Hoboken NJ Mayor Dawn Zimmer claims Christie Administration withheld Hurricane Sandy relief funds over lucrative redevelopment project they wanted approved. She requested $147 million in aid but only received “$142,000 to defray the cost of a single back-up generator plus an additional $200,000 in recovery grants.”
In an exclusive interview, Zimmer broke her silence and named Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, Christie’s community affairs commissioner, as the two officials who delivered messages on behalf of a governor she had long supported.
“It’s not fair for the governor to hold Sandy funds hostage for the city of Hoboken” because he wants support for one private developer, she said Saturday on UP w/ Steve Kornacki.
Constable and Christie – through spokespersons – deny Zimmer’s claims.
She made the blockbuster revelations on this morning’s Up with Steve Kornacki (MSNBC).
Christie spokesman says she is lying:
“Mayor Zimmer has been effusive in her public praise of the Governor’s Office and the assistance we’ve provided in terms of economic development and Sandy aid,” Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak wrote in a statement. “What or who is driving her only now to say such outlandishly false things is anyone’s guess.”
But Zimmer’s statements and documentation suggest that Christie’s administration – hailed for what seemed like a heroic response to Hurricane Sandy – in fact refused to help some of the neediest.
Zimmer’s interview comes on the heels of a scandal in which other members of Christie’s inner circle conspired to create huge traffic swells, possibly in an act of political retribution, on another New Jersey town on the outskirts of Manhattan.
“Well that didn’t take long”:
The two state lawmakers heading separate investigations into the George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal plan to look into allegations made today that Gov. Chris Christie’s administration held Hurricane Sandy recovery aid to Hoboken hostage to push for a politically connected development project.
“I’m going to have a conversation with our special counsel and discuss it with him,” Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) told The Star-Ledger. “And then make a decision on how to proceed.”
State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), who heads a Senate committee also investigating the bridge scandal, said she plans to look into it as well.
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, whom the Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer implicates in her story, declined to comment this morning when she was reached on her cell phone. She said someone from her office would respond later.
Don’t forget, Gov. Christie is down in Florida this weekend headlining fundraisers as chair of the Republican Governor’s Association.
Gov. Chris Christie kicks off a weekend of fundraising in Florida today in the first test of his star power among national Republicans following a series of damaging revelations from the George Washington Bridge scandal.
Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will be the special guest at a lunch for Florida’s GOP governor, Rick Scott, who is up for re-election this year.
Tickets for some quality time with Christie and Scott run from $1,000 at a “general reception” to $2,500 for the VIP treatment – and those are the “minimum suggested” donations per person.
The event at the Orlando Country Club starts this morning. Just a few blocks down the street, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), will hold a news conference to highlight the baggage Christie will bring to any fundraiser now that his administration faces several different investigations tied to the Bridgegate scandal.
“Remember vid of water pouring into train station Hoboken? [Hurricane Sandy] If lying why did Zimmer only get pittance 300K?”
More on the Christie Florida fundraisers
What we know of the closed-press events:
The Orlando event is scheduled for Saturday morning at 1601 Country Club Drive in an event hosted by Pat Christiansen, Bill Heavener, Frank Kruppenbacher, Genean McKinnon, and former Ambassador John Rood.
The Palm Beach fundraiser is slated to be held later Saturday (time unclear) at the private residence of Jose F. “Pepe” Fanjul, Jr., who runs the Florida Crystals empire.
The Broward event will be held Saturday at 6 p.m. at the home of lobbyist William D. Rubin, a longtime friend of the Florida governor who lobbied for the Columbia/HCA hospital chain when Scott ran the company. Rubin is such a loyalist that the longtime Democrat switched to become a Republican in 2010 to vote for Scott in the GOP primary.
Amid all of this, there’s also a Christie meet-and-greet to be hosted by Kenneth Langone, Home Depot co-founder and North Palm Beach-area property owner, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Note: the latter two fundraisers are based on word of mouth from sources. The hosts won’t comment or can’t be reached. The Orlando event is pretty certain because we actually have the invite (the only one available to the press).
Christie’s crew insists on secrecy, small wonder.
No surprise that Christie makes no mention of his troubles, future trials and tribulations – to “unenthusiastic” applause I might add
Governor Christie gave a 23-minute speech to wealthy Republican donors in Orlando today and made no mention of the bridge scandal enveloping his administration in New Jersey.
Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is touring Florida this weekend to campaign for Rick Scott, the governor here who is fighting a tough reelection campaign. Christie spoke to a few hundred people at the Country Club of Orlando, where he was greeted with polite but unenthusiastic applause.
In the middle of his speech, Christie presented a $2.5 million check from the RGA to Scott’s re-election committee, Let’s Get to Work. He said it was the association’s “first commitment” and “initial foray” into the Florida race, which is expected to set spending records in the state.
Christie — who was widely criticized for his Republican National Convention speech in 2012 that many saw as too focused on himself — spent little time today talking about himself.
“I’m here today not to talk about New Jersey, not to talk about the rest of the country, but to talk about Florida,” he said.
John Wisniewski, chair of the committee investigating Gov. Christie re the bridge closure issued a statement in response to Mayor Zimmer’s bombshell revelations:
The allegations discussed today by Mayor Zimmer are serious and yet again raise concern about abuse of government power, This certainly has attracted our attention. We need to obtain all relevant facts, confer with our special counsel and determine the committee’s best course of action.