Friday, January 31, 2014

The First Shoe Drops: Sandygate

WHO'S NEXT?

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.

4 comments:

  1. I'll defer to your opinion of Japanese culture, but it's certainly not playing out that way with Fukushima and what we now know about the radiation contamination of the Pacific Ocean

    While it's great to think Rockefeller will take responsibility for its mis-deeds and firing Wolf & Samson is a necessary first step, it's implausible that they did not know what their lobbyists were doing.

    When members of the Rockefeller Group were present at the meeting set up with the State where Zimmer was hoodwinked into thinking the purpose was to ostensibly discuss storm mitigation, not a specific development project, what did the Rockefeller folks think the Mayor and anyone else with a brain would think they were there for, cheese cubes and chit-chat?

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    1. TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant just got it's third Chairman since the tsunami wrecked it in 2011.

      No, I didn't say Rockefeller would take responsibility. What I think is their corporate bosses in Tokyo or whatever city they're located in will force the head of RG to step down, but that's a guess.

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  2. Rockefeller firing W&S is similar to when a client fires their ad agency. Someone has to take the fall for a bad year, so you get rid of the outside contractor. If they think W&S is going to get further implicated in and tainted by the various Christiegates, they' definitely want to distance themselves.

    This, however, is my favorite story of the day: Carmelo Garcia reinvents Vision 20/20 as a Sandy relief project and accuses the mayor of holding funds hostage! There are no words, I swear. And David Cruz gets to sling his BS under the guise of journalism.

    http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2014/01/audio_surfaces_of_meeting_at_center_of_zimmer_lawsuit.html

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  3. the next shoe will be what the Christie administration did to pressure the NJ DEP to give approval to the Monarch Development project on the waterfront in Hoboken... this is going to be fun to watch from a distance...

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