New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno forcefully denied Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations that the Christie administration held Hurricane Sandy relief funds “hostage” to pressure her to support a development project.
“Mayor Zimmer’s version of our conversation in May of 2013 is not only false but is illogical, and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined,” Guadagno said Monday morning at a short press conference in Union Beach, N.J.
“Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false.”
She also called the allegations “illogical,” and “offensive.”
Zimmer made the explosive claims repeatedly over the weekend — first in an interview with MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki and then on CNN Sunday morning.
She says that top Christie administration officials — Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, Christie’s commissioner of community affairs — gave her an ultimatum to support the Christie administration’s favoured redevelopment project in Hoboken to receive Sandy relief funds. Of a specific conversation in May 2013, Guadagno said that Zimmer had chosen to “mischaracterize” it.
On Sunday, Zimmer met with the office of the U.S. Attorney of New Jersey for several hours about her allegations. She said in a statement that she would be willing to testify under oath about the claims.
“As they pursue this investigation, I will provide any requested information and testify under oath about the facts of what happened when the Lieutenant Governor came to Hoboken and told me that Sandy aid would be contingent on moving forward with a private development project,” Zimmer said in the statement.
The Christie administration has pushed back on Zimmer’s allegations all weekend, noting the good working relationship between the offices. On Monday, Guadagno said she was surprised by the claims because she “thought she had a good relationship” with Zimmer.
“In fact just three months after this conversation she said we had occurred I was walking on the streets with her in Hoboken talking to her about urban markets — just three months after this conversation she said we had and five months before she went to MSNBC.”
Guadagno did not take questions after the press conference.
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