Hoboken Mayor Says Christie Aides Withheld Hurricane Sandy Relief

As retribution for not moving forward a favored development project

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Updated Jan. 18, 2014, 5:26 p.m.

Hoboken’s mayor says New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration withheld millions of dollars in Hurricane Sandy relief money as leverage for a redevelopment plan, an allegation likely to increase public scrutiny following this month’s Bridge-gate scandal.

After Hoboken was badly hit by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, mayor Dawn Zimmer requested $127 million in aid but received less than $400,000, she said Saturday on MSNBC’s Up With Steve Kornacki. Zimmer named Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Christie’s community affairs commissioner Richard Constable as the two officials who pressured her twice to fast-track the approval, and provided emails, public records, and her own personal accounts to support her claims.

“I was emotional about governor Christie,” she wrote in a diary entry dated May 17, 2013. “I thought he was honest. I thought he was moral. I thought he was something very different. This week I found out he’s cut from the same corrupt cloth that I have been fighting for the last four years.”

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak responded to the allegations in a statement: “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….What or who is driving her only now to say such outlandishly false things is anyone’s guess.”

The governor’s office released another statement late Saturday calling MSNBC a “partisan network that has been openly hostile to Governor Christie and almost gleeful in their efforts attacking him.” Spokesperson Colin Reed pointed out that Hoboken had been approved for nearly $70 million dollars in federal aid, and more is expected when Obama approves the next round of funding.

The lucrative Rockefeller development project would have received millions of dollars in tax incentives and was represented by lawyers with close ties to Christie.

Zimmer’s accusation only builds on the latest scandals to hit the governor and potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate. Earlier this month, Christie aides were found to have closed lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge, possibly as political retribution for a small-town mayor in north Jersey who didn’t endorse Christie’s reelection bid. As a result, his administration is facing a federal probe as well as a state investigation for the incident. Separately, federal investigators are looking into whether Christie misused Hurricane Sandy funds to produce tourism ads.

[MSNBC]

MORE: Chris Christie Witholding Sandy Funds From Hoboken

49 comments
usmin01
usmin01

Why isn't anyone asking the most obvious question...Why is the mayor of Hoboken asking for ANY money from the Sandy relief fund?! Did she hope to repair the Hoboken beachfront? Many of the legitimate victims of Sandy have only recently received any money for repairs to their homes. Perhaps one day an enterprising journalist will scroll through the list of Sandy fund requests to see how many were requested by politicians in communities without any real damage from the storm.

lossofgravity
lossofgravity

When the House held up relief funds for Hurricane Sandy, Christie blamed John Boehner and other Republicans. He said, "We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters not as Republicans or Democrats but as Americans....Politics was placed before our oaths to serve our citizens. For me it was disappointing and disgusting to watch."

  Now mayors have come forward and claimed that Gov. Christie's office withheld Sandy relief funds for political reasons. What is one to think? Governor Graft? Governor Hypocrite? Governor Incompetent? Governor Jerk? etc.

 


SuperGirl
SuperGirl

This morning a Christie staff member blamed the George Washington bridge problems on an insensitive YouTube video. The portly governor appears to be digging a hole big enough for him to lie in comfortably. http://bit.ly/1hnmvab

Tallahassee-Hero
Tallahassee-Hero


While NJ Governor Chris Christie and FL Governor Rick Scott are enjoying time with each other this weekend in Florida, tens of thousands of the unemployed are not receiving their duly-owed unemployment checks as Florida is "holding" onto the benefits.

The Federal Dept. of Labor has just opened an investigation as those tens of millions of dollars worth of payments which, by federal law, must be released immediately to those who are entitled to them to pay mortages, bills, and food.Many have not received an unemployment check in months.

Simply google news: "florida unemployment" and you can see the many local news reports covering this issue.

usforcessupporter
usforcessupporter

First of all, he is "super fat" with no discipline to shed some of his weights. second, he always acted well in public; that tells you he is dangerous just like uncle "Kim". Third, holding relief funds any second is not a right thing to do, and he cant not be tolerated regardless his intetion. Fourth, abusing his authority, shutting highway to avenge his opponents is a act of a dictator. That will take us to his fifth failure which is disrepectful to others. I heard he disrepected, and bad-mouthed Gorvernor Brown and many others. A politian like him should have already been fired. Say "Fire Chris Christie"

ThisOldMan
ThisOldMan

As reported by Greg Palast (http://www.gregpalast.com/), the real Christie scandal is that he has taken millions in donations from the Citizens United enabled "social welfare" agency "Committee for Our Children's Future", while meeting with an coordinating how the money should be spent with the main contributor to that front group, David Koch. For those not up on such things, that is a felony campaign finance violation. Wake up New Jersey! 

strokeme
strokeme

and for the rest of you wondering why Romney past on him like a hot potato ...

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

This is just the tip of the iceberg. As more and more comes out don't be surprised if Christie goes the route of Rod Blagoyavitch.

BruceStrong
BruceStrong

It's nice to see the Democrats gearing up for the 2016 presidential election...!

JimStarowicz
JimStarowicz

Where's the Congressional, House, Rage:

I've searched high and low, the low would be the FOX type reporting(?), for anything as to possible Federal Congressional Investigations as to the possibility of Federal Hurricane Sandy funds also used by the Christie administration as political arm twisting or favoritism, i.e. think charges for Sandy advertising with Christie and his family with Sandy relief funds and reelection campaign ads with the high costs associated and not lower costs. Can't find a whisper nor any rage. In calls from types like the Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee or as to Veterans issues Miller, Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, attack dogs obstructing government policies and government funding after their previous rubber stamping of everything bushco!!

USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71

meddevguy
meddevguy

The lesson is "Don't run against Hillary". If you're a politician of any party and don't get the lesson, the media will remind you!


There's another lesson here -- Even if you help the President get re-elected, his political party is your mortal enemy. 


The two buddies in their blue windbreakers with the insignia of office swayed many votes that would have gone against the President because of his unwillingness to stop campaigning long enough to work with Congress. Those images of two leaders surveying the damage were the best political Democrat Campaign ad of 2012, and were pushed incessantly by the partisan media until election day.

Raina12
Raina12

If you watch the interview, the mayor comes off very credible. She offered to testify under oath and take a lie detector test. She provided her diary entries from the spring of 2013 as part of a larger journal from that time of year. To say she is lying would mean she either planned this against the Christie Administration back in the spring when she made appearances with members of his staff  or she is very disturbed and falsified half a year's worth of journals to be able to support the claim. 


I cannot see what she has to gain by this but the Governor has high level staff with connections to the developer's law firm. No matter her motivation, it seems she is telling the truth. 


Christie was a hugely popular, powerful political figure and maybe she was scared to come forward before, maybe she was thinking about doing what he wanted, maybe she was waiting to see if her town would get funding - what ever the reason she waited to come forward, (and yes this is admittedly an opportunistic moment to do so), those speaking out against her have not addressed the most important question - is she telling the truth?

TimTz
TimTz

"Spokesperson Colin Reed pointed out that Hoboken had been approved for nearly $70 million dollars in federal aid, and more is expected when Obama approves the next round of funding."


Where's the money?  They might have been approved for $70 M but never got it because Christie refused to release the money. If Zimmer had gotten the funds, the discussion would be over, but all they got was $375 K. So Christie's strong-arm tactics are punishing the entire town of Hoboken, which was 80% underwater after Sandy hit, just like they punished the town of Fort Lee with Bridge-gate. 


Wake up Republicans, you better be able to nominate someone better for President.  Imagine if Christie were elected and had control of the IRS, FBI, ICE, DoJ, ATF, DEA, CIA, and DOD.  What would he do to his enemies then?  Worse than Nixon.  


cdblnr
cdblnr

Based on allegations reported by MSNBC, the station where Al Sharpton is the managing editor.

jamesjm
jamesjm

After the allegations and then the federal and state investigations, Christie is going to hear the jail cell door close behind him. Elizebeth Warren to the White House! 

MaryPiraneo
MaryPiraneo

It's very sad that the dems are this stupid.- Really, he goes out of town for a day and this?

datadon333
datadon333

There is nothing here folks....keep this traffic moving....just some desperate Democrats cause a flurry of news way too early...please move on....nothing to see here, keep your eyes ahead...Please move on

datadon333
datadon333

This desperate move by the democrats will prove Christie is "Stronger Than The Storm"

kenluskin
kenluskin

CRONY CAPITALISM was INVENTED by the Republican party!

while Obama raised money from tens of millions of people in addition to some wealthy backers.

Republicans like Christie mostly RELY upon a small group of SUPER RICH people, that they then MUST reward with CORRUPT DEALS!

George286
George286

I was sure the traffic jam was the tip of the iceberg, that is how his crew operated, early 20th century Chicago politics or something you'd see in a third world country.  You are going to hear all kinds of victims speaking out.  His Nixon 'I didn't know what all my top staff were up to together' baloney does not hold water at all.

guyfalks2012
guyfalks2012

CONGRESS should haul Christie and all his sleazy aides in front of a HEARING investigating the use of the $BILLIONS of aid for Hurricane Sandy.   They have every right to subpoena anyone at all involved in deciding how it is being spent.

Bullsgt
Bullsgt

It seems awfully well timed. Why wasn't this reported earlier? Did Mayor Zimmer get all the funds? Eventually? 

I'm not saying a Governor wouldn't apply pressure to get something done for their state but the motivation behind this accusation is suspect.


Typical BS politics 

ScrappyLee
ScrappyLee

I don't believe anything this clown says.

bojimbo26
bojimbo26

Well it's like this , sob , sob , ..........................

DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

Mr. Christie is finding that you simply can't have it both ways: either he's a typical politician, occasionally a bully, etc., or he's a different kind of politician who really tries to play fair.  


In fact, what he seems to be is a wolf in sheep's clothing.  He wants an image of a new kind of pol, who can work with Democrats and get things done but his temperament is that of a bully.


What is true, though, is that he's angered the anarchist-nihilist wing of the Republican party by trying to project the image he wants to project (doing heretical things like reaching out to minorities, working with pragmatists of both parties, etc.).  That wing of the GOP really hates, hates, hates everyone who isn't angry old white bigots, and Christie's outreach is just the kind of thing that makes them see red.


However, his temperament really does seem to be that of a bully.  And his subordinates, whether they (unlikely) acted on their own or under his instructions, pick up on that: the only thing that's important is his priorities and everything else is irrelevant or deserving of punishment.  Last year's two scandals because his appointment to head Rutgers was just like him is a case in point.  Whatever is likely to come to light (and there'll probably be even more) will simply build on that image of a bully.


He might have been able to get away with thumbing his nose at the know-nothing wing of the GOP, because the Main Street wing of the GOP seemed to like him.  But if he sullies his otherwise clean image, his backing among GOP regulars is likely to weaken.  He then becomes vulnerable to the venom of the anti-government wing of the GOP.


Hillary is looking better and better.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

This is what you get, Christie. If you think you can get a better deal with Obama and the Democrats because you love to waddle alongside with them, you have another thought coming. You keep putting your own party down thinking you are gaining with the Democrats. Now you are deep frying in your own fat, with no Democrat and few Republicans willing to help you out. Good for you. Also a food for thought. All these would not be happening if Obama does not sanction it. Even your admiration for Bruce Springsteen did not prevent him from kicking you while you are down. Good.



mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@usmin01

Because a large portion of the town was flooded by the storm surge. But hey whatever you Christie apologists can do to distract from the fact that he has run an extortion racket worthy of a mafioso.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/nyregion/hoboken-faces-continuing-toll-from-hurricane-sandy.html?_r=0


And perhaps no place has felt that impact more acutely than Hoboken. This city of 50,000 on the banks of the Hudson River thrives on its easy access to trains, buses and ferries into Manhattan. According to census surveys, an estimated 56 percent workers here use public transportation every day, surpassing New York City as the most transit-reliant community in the nation.

That convenience has played a crucial role in the city’s evolution from a rough-hewed factory town to an enclave of upscale bars and restaurants and pricey condominiums with unfettered views of the Manhattan skyline.

But as the hurricane ripped through the region, seawater flooded half the city, and crippled the PATH station at Hoboken Terminal. Now, even as commuter services have returned to normal in much of the region, the station remains closed, severing a critical artery for workers traveling to and from Manhattan.

DarleneRitterGoodfellow
DarleneRitterGoodfellow

@usmin01 Hoboken was 80% under water - why wouldn't they be eligible for Sandy relief funds? And today Christie's people are saying Hoboken has been approved for 70 million in funds (note the carefully parsed words - approved but not delivered, which I think is the mayor's point). 

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@usforcessupporter Figured that huge extension in his house would be a food pantry. The more Christie gets pressured the more he eats. You start the ball rolling and gather signatures. We are all behind you. "Fire Chris Christie" and not as a barbecue.

gbknits
gbknits

@meddevguyGov. Christie was working for his own best interests when he worked with President Obama.  Yes, I'm sure it helped reelect President Obama but let's not forget that Governor Christie was also trying to show that he can work with Democrats so that he could get the crossover vote.

PennsyltuckyPhillips
PennsyltuckyPhillips

@cdblnrthat's not true.  But please use this sort of criteria in your own choice of news source, won't you?  I dare you to scrutinize the people and foreign powers who are invested in driving the rwing mediamachine.

PennsyltuckyPhillips
PennsyltuckyPhillips

@datadon333as someone who lived in New Jersey for eighteen years and saw Christie's rise to power let me tell you a non-secret:  There's a good reason why Romney's people dropped Christie from consideration as vice-presidential material.  Democrats are the least of Christie's problems; he made at least as many enemies among his own party, and that was way before Sandy.

aztecian
aztecian

@datadon333don't know about that, but we all know he is loud mouth, egocentric bully.

RickyStuffgate
RickyStuffgate

@kenluskin i wouldn't say that. Yes, Christie is certainly corrupt, but Obama's no better. Take a look at what he did with the Federal Reserve and Treasury. Corruption is not a partisan issue.

cdblnr
cdblnr

@kenluskinLast I looked all the media corporations except Fox, General Electric, all the major insurance corporations, AFLCIO, NEA, the trial lawyers, G.M. Chrysler, Costco, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Goldman Sachs, just to name a few, were solidly in Obama's pocket.  Yea, Obama is out for the little guy.  No, Obama gets his support from the guy with the little brain.

aztecian
aztecian

@kenluskinyou got that right. obama's method was all grass roots, nothing, zero from big corps.  while the party of the white man relies on kkkoch bros and other wealth elite racist to fund their obstructionist tactics for destroying minorities, the poor and the environment.  the justice dept will need to step and shake this fat boy down.  he can not stand for this any longer.  we need to put an end to this tyranny!

PennsyltuckyPhillips
PennsyltuckyPhillips

@Bullsgtit seems that she kept her records, emails, and notes to protect herself, and waited for a time when she thought people would listen.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@mantisdragon91 Third time I agree with you Mantis. They should find the strongest oak tree in Jersey to hang this fat tub of bacon. Any less would not be able to absorb the weight. Just keep the pressure on Mantis. Keep the pressure on. We might succeed yet and he would resign.

thezenbody
thezenbody

@aztecian@kenluskinget your head out of your asses......if you become President of the United States, you owe a lot of people....PLEASEEEEEEEEE stop being ignorant....Obama was hand picked to rule this country plain and simple!!! He is a Puppet, just like every other President....and FYI he had major corporate backing....the Monsanto Corporation being one of them...why else would he sign a law to protect them????? they are poisoning our food chain hand he signed a law to protect them from being prosecuted and you mean to tell me he didnt "owe" them....OMG PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ....http://www.ibtimes.com/monsanto-protection-act-killed-senate-controversial-provision-removed-spending-bill-1412160



mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ReneDemonteverde@mantisdragon91He's a career politician. He isn't resigning. They will have to crowbar him out of that office. But hopefully as his underlings start looking at jail time some of them will turn him in.

aztecian
aztecian

@Cabaedium@thezenbody@aztecian@kenluskintypical MO of a teatard.  it most likely some elderly white person typing random crap they hear from the local teatards.  they are too old and dumb to think on their own and don't know when to turn the cap locks off.