Christie: 3 Mayor Accusations Are Fueling ScandalBy: Tina Volpe - January 26, 2014
This past months accusations were flying about Chris Christie, but now they’ve sort of fizzled.
At first, as the scandals involving their cities were revealed, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich (D) and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer (D) were talking to every media outlet they could.
Could it have been related to the fact that another scandal had arisen – when the administration of Gov. Chris Christie made the decision to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge for four days, causing a traffic nightmare. Fueling the flames perhaps?
Sokolich went on both CNN and MSNBC that night.
Zimmer came out with her accusations on MSNBC last Saturday, and on CNN’s “State of the Union” and ABC’s “This Week” the next day. She claimed that members of the Christie administration, namely Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, used Hurricane Sandy relief funds as hostage to pressure her into supporting a development project the Gov. wanted.
New Jersey City Mayor, Steven Fulop opened up with the accusations as well, claiming he was a target of political retribution.
This past week, both Sokolich and Zimmer along with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, another who claimed he was a target of political retribution, have been quiet.
Perhaps the decision for Zimmer to lay low came after the U.S. Attorney’s Office began an investigation into her claim, along with the George Washington Bridge scandal.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office has asked that we not conduct additional media interviews and we are respecting their request,” Zimmer said in a statement Wednesday. “I stand by my previous statements and remain willing to testify under oath about all of the facts in this case.”
Business Insider was scheduled to meet with Sokolich during a recent trip to Fort Lee. But an assistant to the mayor sent out an email the morning of the trip to advise that the mayor was no longer accepting interviews.
“I had an opportunity to speak with Mayor Sokolich about 20 minutes ago and he advised that at this time, he has spoken to the press and has said what he needed to say,” the email said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office’s request for silence with the press is relatively standard procedure, which indicates a high level of importance.
They want to keep the details of the case, and witness statements hush, hush, until they complete their investigation.
“You can imagine why,” the official said. “When they go to someone and interview them, they want to have the benefit of having as much information as possible. And they don’t want that person to know what they know, because then they have a chance to change their story or to destroy documents or do anything else to ‘get ready.’
But Fulop’s claims are not included in the U.S. Attorney’s investigation, and now he’s been silent – after pressing his case for months that members of the Christie administration have canceled meetings and not returned phone calls after Fulop’s refusal to endorse Christie for re-election.
There are rumors of impeachment looming for Christie, but it is much too soon to determine if it will surface.
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