Trenton, NJ, United States (4E) – New Jersey Gov. Christ Christie has denied accusations by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that he withheld Hurricane Sandy recovery funds for her city because she refused to fast track a redevelopment project he was pushing.
Christie spokesman Colin Reed said in a statement issued Saturday that Zimmer was playing partisan politics for telling MSNBC show “UP with Steve Kornacki” that Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno came to Hoboken and pulled her aside in a parking lot to tell her the release of the requested funds is contingent to the approval of the Rockefeller Group’s redevelopment project for a 19-block property in the Hudson County city.
“Governor Christie and his entire administration have been helping Hoboken get the help they need after Sandy, with the city already having been approved for nearly $70 million dollars in federal aid and is targeted to get even more when the Obama Administration approves the next rounds of funding,” Reed said, according to NJ.com.
Reed also said that Zimmer sent tweets on Nov. 6 and 12, 2012 thanking Christie for responding to the flooding in Hoboken and restoring heat to 130 premises in her city.
Zimmer also told the same show that Richard Constable, Christie’s community affairs commissioner, told her at a television special on May 17 that the money would start flowing to her if she moves the project forward. Lisa M. Ryan, spokeswoman for Constable, said Saturday the claim was false.
Zimmer requested $127 million for Hoboken from the $300 million storm fund of New Jersey. The mayor claimed she received only $200,000 in recovery grants, plus $142,000 for a backup generator.
Amidst the denials from Christie’s camp, Zimmer said she is willing to testify under oath and undergo a lie detector test. Zimmer was not against the Hoboken project to which the state sought a deal with Rockefeller Group in 2008. But after a study found that the area should be rehabilitated instead of redeveloped, the Hoboken Planning Board voted 4-3 against the project on May 8. On the same day, Zimmer wrote to Christie pleading for help but did not get a response.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski said he would look into Zimmer’s charges. Wisniewski is also leading a state investigation of Christie’s alleged knowledge of his staff’s order to close two lanes of the George Washington Bridge last year in retaliation for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich’s failure to endorse the governor for reelection.