Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno Denies Mayor’s ClaimsBy: Tina Volpe - January 20, 2014
After accusations by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer alleging that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “withheld” relief funds for hurricane Sandy unless she approved a project that the Gov. had slated is still unfounded. Zimmer also stated that the “imposed” threat came directly from Lt. Gov. Guardagno.
Guadagno denied “whole-heartedly” allegations on Monday that she gave Hoboken’s Mayor an ultimatum to support a redevelopment plan backed by Gov. Chris Christie in order to receive Hurricane Sandy recovery aid.
“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. Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false,” Guadagno said at a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday service project in Union Beach.
Guadagno’s remarks were the first time a senior Christie official addressed the charges Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer first made Saturday on MSNBC and detailed to CNN on Sunday.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Zimmer said Guadagno told her that Sandy relief funds hinged on her support for a real estate development project by the Rockefeller Group. Which she commented came directly from Christie.
“She said that to me, that this is a direct message from the governor,” Zimmer said.
Although Guadagno doesn’t deny the conversation with Zimmer back in May when the Lt. Gov. was touring a grocery store in Hoboken. But says she remembers Zimmer arguing that Sandy recovery aid and redevelopment were the same issue, according to the source close to Guadagno, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
“Kim remembers in their conversation that she was talking about redevelopment and making investments in Hoboken. She remembers Zimmer pressing Kim for money for Sandy. Kim remembers saying you can’t tie the two together,” the source said. “And she remembers Zimmer continuing to press and showing her a map of the city and pressing for aid for Sandy.”
Guadagno remembers it as a “friendly conversation,” the source said. “Zimmer was laser-focused on getting Hoboken money for Sandy recovery and that is not the role Kim Guadagno plays in the administration,” the source said.
Lt. Gov. Guadagno cannot talk about Sandy – because apparently she was personally affected by the hurricane.
“Kim can’t talk about Sandy,” the source said. “She can’t do it.”
And Guadagno returned to Hoboken twice after that May conversation, spending hours with Zimmer, but she never brought up the conversation then, nor did she indicate that she was upset about the implications, the source said.
Guadagno’s source also revealed that Zimmer’s comments Saturday and Sunday are a change from what she told CNN on January 11. She said then that while she wondered whether Sandy aid funds were being withheld because she didn’t endorse the governor’s re-election, she concluded, “I don’t think that’s the case.”
“I don’t think it was retaliation and I don’t have any reason to think it’s retaliation, but I’m not satisfied with the amount of money I’ve gotten so far,” Zimmer told CNN then. She did not mention her concerns about the redevelopment project.
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