Hoboken mayor stands by allegations, says Christie administration withheld Sandy funds

Dawn Zimmer says Christie ordered relief funds for Sandy be withheld until she backed a favored real estate deal

Published January 19, 2014 9:52PM (EST)

Chris Christie                           (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
Chris Christie (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer on Sunday repeated her allegations that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered that relief funds for Superstorm Sandy be withheld unless she backed a redevelopment plan he supported.

Zimmer appeared on CNN's "State of the Union," where she explained that she was told by a member of Christie's administration that the money was contingent on her support for the real estate deal. "She said that to me -- is that this is a direct message from the Governor," Zimmer said of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who allegedly delivered the message.

That Christie would play politics with disaster relief funds is "stunning" and "outrageous" but absolutely true, she said. "I stand by my word."

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[S]unday morning, Zimmer told CNN's [Candy] Crowley that she didn't speak out before because she didn't think anyone would believe her, adding that she is now "offering to testify under oath."

Zimmer admitted to supporting Christie in the past, saying she is not a part of "the Democratic machine." But the information around the George Washington Bridge scandal -- involving lane closures at the entrance to the busy bridge, apparently for political retaliation -- prompted her to speak. She said she sees parallels between her story and the bridge controversy: "The Christie administration using their authority to try and get something."

Zimmer said Guadagno appeared to feel guilty for delivering the message.

"I believe if and when she is asked to testify under oath, the truth will come out, because I believe she will be truthful and she will tell the truth," Zimmer told Crowley.

Zimmer also said she is speaking because she wants Hoboken to receive an appropriate level of funds in the second round of recovery dollars about to be released.

The Christie administration responded to the allegations on Saturday, with spokesperson Colin Reed saying, "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."

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Bridgegate Chris Christie Gop New Jersey Republicans Superstorm Sandy