TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faces new allegations of exacting retribution for political reasons after a city’s mayor accused his administration of linking millions of dollars in recovery money for Superstorm Sandy to a politically connected project.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer alleged Saturday that Christie’s lieutenant governor and a top community development official told her recovery funds would flow to her city if she allowed a commercial development project to move forward.
Christie is already embroiled in another scandal involving traffic jams apparently manufactured to settle a political score. That scandal has tarnished Christie’s image as a straight talking Republican capable of working across the partisan divide and it may threaten his standing as a leading potential presidential candidate in 2016.
Zimmer said Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno pulled her aside at an event in May and told her Sandy aid was tied to the project — a proposal from the New York City-based Rockefeller Group aimed at prime real estate in the densely populated city across the river from New York City.
“I was directly told the by the lieutenant governor — she made it very clear — that the Rockefeller project needed to move forward or they wouldn’t be able to help me,” Zimmer told The Associated Press.
Christie’s office denied Zimmer’s claims, calling her statements politically motivated. Spokesman Colin Reed said the administration has been helping Hoboken secure assistance since Sandy struck.” Christie himself was raising money Saturday for fellow Republicans in Florida. The fundraisers were closed to reporters.
The Sandy aid matter is the second time in recent weeks Christie’s administration has been accused of exacting retribution for political reasons.
Christie’s chief of staff, chief counsel, chief political strategist and two-time campaign manager have all been subpoenaed for documents related to the September closing of approach lanes near the George Washington Bridge, which led to traffic chaos in the town of Fort Lee across the river from New York City.
The agency that runs the bridge, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is chaired by David Samson, whose law firm, Wolff & Samson, represented the developer in the Hoboken matter, according to Zimmer. A phone message left at the firm’s office was not returned Saturday.
Associated Press writers Angela Delli Santi and Bruce Shipkowski contributed to this report.