Chris Christie accused of Strong-Arming Mayor over Sandy Relief Funds

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer was told by top officials in Gov. Chris Christie’s administration that she would get funds to help her city recover from Hurricane Sandy only if she expedited a politically-connected development project, Zimmer said today.

chris christie dawn zimmer

Zimmer, a Democrat who has long been an ally of Christie, made the explosive accusation this morning on national television, telling MSNBC host Steve Kornacki that she was pressured by Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno, Richard Constable, the current commissioner of community affairs, and Lori Grifa, the former commissioner.


Christie’s administration denies the accusations.


Guadagno, Zimmer said, pulled her aside during an event in Hoboken in May and made the connection explicit. Zimmer recalled the interaction in her diary, which was quoted on the show:


“She pulls me aside and says that I need to move forward with the Rockefeller project. It’s 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. ‘If you tell anyone I said it, I will deny it.’”

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Governor Chris Christie Camp responds

In his statement to CNN on Saturday, Reed blasted Zimmer’s claim that the funds were based on the real estate project. He said her accusations are false, adding, “It’s very clear partisan politics are at play here as Democratic mayors with a political ax to grind come out of the woodwork and try to get their faces on television.”

Reed went on to attack the cable news channel that first broke the news Saturday. “MSNBC is a partisan network that has been openly hostile to Governor Christie and almost gleeful in their efforts attacking him,” Reed said.

MSNBC said its story is based on an interview with Zimmer “and e-mails and personal notes she shared with MSNBC.”

The Governor’s spokesman also said the Mayor and Governor have had a “productive relationship,” noting an August tweet by Zimmer saying she’s “very glad Governor Christie has been our Gov.”

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