|Hoboken Mayor Zimmer alleges that Christie tied Hoboken's flood relief dollars to approving a huge development project.|
Well folks, as if we didn't already know that politics is a sleazy business, and that politicians can play hardball to get a deal done.
What we didn't know until yesterday morning, was that we were the pawns of our own governor in an alleged nasty game of hardball with our Mayor.
In a stunning interview on MSNBC, Mayor Dawn Zimmer made international headlines with the disclosure that Christie officials- and the governor himself- had conveyed that amount of help for our flood-devastated city was directly tied to approving the Rockefeller Group to develop a 19-block parcel of land of Hoboken's north end.
|Web of Christie connections to the Rockefeller Group-credit: MSNBC|
"If you tell anyone I'll deny it...If you don't move ahead, we're not going to be able to help you."
-NJ Lt. Gov.Kim Guadagno (Zimmer alleges was said to her)
"I have no choice, I have to come forward.. we need some of this funding... I cannot give a windfall to one private property owner because the governor and other people wants me to do it. I cannot do it"
-Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer
-Christie spokesman, Michael Drewniak
Whom do you believe?
Let's take a look. We know that Hoboken was the worst-hit municipality in Hudson County; 80% of our City was literally, under water. Thousands of us were displaced; some are still. Hoboken City Council President Jen Giatino has only just moved back to her renovated home this December- almost 15 months after the Sandy struck.
As reported on MSNBC yesterday:
At the same time that the planning board voted against the (Rockefeller Group Development) study, Zimmer was applying for funding from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, a huge vault of money overseen by Christie to help communities hit hard by Sandy prepare themselves for the next storm
Christie’s people came back with less than 1% of what Hoboken had sought. With $250 million to disburse statewide, just $142,000 went to Hoboken – enough to help defray the cost of one backup generator to power a flood pump. Out of another pool of money for recovery grants – $1.8 billion in all – Hoboken received $200,000.
“Please governor,” Zimmer wrote in a letter following the decisions, “we need your help. I have tried to assure Hoboken residents that we would be treated fairly because you have always treated Hoboken fairly in the past.”
There was no response to that letter, dated May 8 of last year, the same day the Hoboken Planning Board did not adopt the redevelopment recommendation for the Rockefeller property.
Two days later, Zimmer got a call from the Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno, who wanted to come to town to do an event at a ShopRite to spotlight businesses that had recovered from the storm.
On May 13, Guadagno and Zimmer met at the Hoboken ShopRite. That is where, Zimmer said, Guadagno delivered the first message about the relief aide. Zimmer shared this diary entry which she said she wrote later that day. “At the end of a big tour of ShopRite and meeting, she 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.”
Well, here goes. GA believes that Mayor Zimmer is telling the truth; the Christie folk,s not so much.
Advice to Mayor Zimmer: Take the lie detector test.