Folks, it looks like shoes are starting to drop in the Sandygate scandal, and this one's a Jimmy Choo.
The Rockefeller Group, whose billion-dollar development deal in Hoboken was alleged to be a condition of the Christie administration to release of disaster aid, has dumped their lobbyist, the Mighty Wolff & Samson. The HR reports:
The lobbyists for the project were Woff & Samson, a firm that includes partner David Samson, a close Christie ally. The alleged quid pro quo made national news.According to the story, "Rockefeller Group said on Thursday that last week it had terminated its contract with the firm, Wolff & Samson, ending a relationship that began in 2007. 'Given the investigation,' Dwayne Doherty, a spokesman for Rockefeller Group, said, 'we’ve decided to shift our work on the project to another firm.'Not exactly a vote of confidence.
Here's what it looks like to me. This is just the first shoe, very soon we'll have enough to fill a Thom McAnn's.
This first shoe makes sense; remember, the Rockefeller Group is Japanese-owned. GA lived in Japan a few years, I know the drill. Japanese culture is averse to scandal; firings and resignations are the certain consequence of any "shameful" behavior in business or government. Unlike in America where the 'little guy' gets thrown under the bus to save the honcho's arse, the Japanese take responsibility from the top-down. Always. Presidents and Prime Ministers are first to go. In Japan, they apologize and acknowledge responsibility and shame. Admirably, that's how they roll. Which means GA expects more firings to come from within the Rockefeller Group.
But GA believes there will be more. Because when you have Christie defenders like Rudy Guiliani now publicly hedging their bets on whether Christie knew about Bridge-gate, you know insiders are looking for the exit doors.
All of this validates Mayor Zimmer's revelations that she was under enormous pressure by the Christie administration to approve the Rockefeller Group development, up to and including holding federal monies for Sandy disaster relief hostage. A smoking gun: the NY Times' disclosure that the EPA invited Rockefeller Group LOBBYISTS to a meeting with her and put the Rockefeller Group project at the TOP of the agenda. A friend told me this was a 500-pound elephant sitting on the mayor's shoulders.
And note the firing of the lobbyist firm, Wolf & Samson, came one day after the NY Times wrote about the lobbyists at the EPA meeting.
Remember this: the misuse of federal funds is a crime. Expect indictments to follow. But first, a downpour of shoes.