The New Jersey mayor who has accused Gov. Chris Christie’s administration of threatening to withhold Hurricane Sandy relief funds unless she supported a development project said she met with a federal prosecutor to discuss the matter Sunday.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said in a statement that the meeting was at the request of the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, and that she turned over documents and her journal, NBC News reports.
“As they pursue this investigation, I will provide any requested information and testify under oath about the facts of what happened when the Lieutenant Governor came to Hoboken and told me that Sandy aid would be contingent on moving forward with a private development project,” Zimmer said.
Zimmer has said twice in television interviews, and said that she is willing to sign a sworn statement and testify under oath, that she was threatened by the governor’s staff to approve a private development project in Hoboken, or relief funds for the city would be in jeopardy. In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Zimmer said, “I probably should have come forward sooner, but I really didn’t think anyone would believe me.”
Christie’s administration, already under fire for a traffic scandal in which aides closed lanes leading from a north Jersey town to the busiest bridge in the world in apparent political retribution, is denying Zimmer’s claims, pointing to $70 million in federal aid that has been approved for Hoboken. Zimmer said much of that money came from the federal flood insurance program.
“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 said in a statement Saturday. “What or who is driving her only now to say such outlandishly false things is anyone’s guess.”
Christie, who will celebrate his second inauguration as New Jersey governor on Tuesday, has apologized in the bridge scandal and fired a top aide involved, but federal authorities are investigating, as are two state legislative committees, one of which has already issued subpoenas for key members of Christie’s administration.
The governor, a top Republican presidential contender, has not been directly tied to the bridge scandal or other accusations, but the growing drumbeat has nevertheless hurt his 2016 ambitions. During a weekend fundraising swing in Florida, Politico reports, Christie said “I don’t know” when the controversy will subside.
“‘But as far as I’m concerned, I did what I can do,” Christie said, “with great apologies and embarrassment.”