Guadagno: Zimmer’s Claims ‘Completely False’ [AUDIO]
Over the weekend, Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer added to the scandal circusswirling around Gov. Chris Christie and his administration by claiming Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno threatened to withhold Sandy relief funds unless the mayor approved a development project.
Monday, Guadagno broke her silence.
“I deny any suggestion made by Mayor Zimmer that there was ever any condition on the release of Sandy funds by me,” said Guadagno. “Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false.”
The Hoboken mayor had previously been thought to be a Christie ally. Zimmer said she would testify under oath that her statements regarding Guadagno’s threats are true, and she has reportedly said she would be willing to take a lie detector test. The mayor has also spoken with the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding her claims.
“The lieutenant governor pulled me aside and said, essentially, ‘You’ve got to move forward with the Rockefeller project. This project is really important to the governor,’” Zimmer said on CNN over the weekend. “She said that she had been with him on Friday night, and that this was a direct message from the governor.”
The lieutenant governor said she thought that she and Zimmer had a good relationship.
“I am very surprised by the mayor’s allegations and I deny wholeheartedly those allegations,” Guadagno said. “The suggestion that anyone would hold back Sandy relief funds for any reason is wholly and completely false.”
Already fighting off claims that access lanes were closed to the George Washington Bridge in September as political retribution, because Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor would not endorse Christie’s re-election bid, the governor is now battling Zimmer’s allegations.
Department of Community Affairs commissioner Richard Constable reiterated Guadagno’s threat, according to Zimmer. Constable also responded on Monday.
“Mayor Zimmer’s allegations are patently false and absurd on their face,” Constable said in an emailed statement. “I welcome a full and thorough law enforcement review of her libelous claims.”
Marc Ferzan, executive director of the Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, said in a Monday conference call that he believes his office has been objective in dispersing Sandy aid. He said Hoboken has actually received $70 million from several different funding sources, most of that targeted to individuals.