Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Allegations Of Christie's Abuse Of Office

Two senior members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration warned a New Jersey mayor that her town would be starved of hurricane relief money unless she approved a lucrative redevelopment plan favored by the governor, according to the mayor and emails and personal notes she shared with MSNBC.

The mayor, Dawn Zimmer, requested $127 million in hurricane relief for her city of Hoboken – 80% of which was underwater after Sandy hit in October 2012.  What she got was $142,000 to defray the cost of a single back-up generator plus an additional $200,000 in recovery grants.  Out of another pool of money for recovery grants – $1.8 billion in all – Hoboken received $200,000.   Zimmer has not yet approved the Rockefeller Group redevelopment plan supported by Christie. 

The mayor's claims are supported by email, public records and Zimmer’s own diary entries – Christie’s inner circle was willing to cut off devastated constituents, muscle a friendly mayor and arrange public funds to finance a study for a project the governor supported.

Zimmer wrote in her diary about a press event she attended with Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno on May 13, 2013 at a ShopRite store in Hoboken:

"At the end of a big tour of ShopRite and meeting, [Lieutenant Governor Guadagno] 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."

Another warning came four days later. Zimmer and Richard Constable, Christie’s community affairs commissioner, were seated together on stage for a public television special on Sandy recovery.  Zimmer's diary entry from May 17, captured the incident.

“We are mic’ed up with other panelists all around us and probably the sound team is listening. And [Constable] says “I hear you are against the Rockefeller project”. I reply “I am not against the Rockefeller project; in fact I want more commercial development in Hoboken.” “Oh really? Everyone in the State House believes you are against it – the buzz is that you are against it. If you move that forward, the money would start flowing to you” he tells me."

Zimmer broke her silence about the warnings from Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable on Steve Kornacki's show on MSNBC.  “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 told Kornacki.  Constable and Christie – through spokespersons – deny Zimmer’s claims.

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