Democratic Party

Hurricane Victims Held Hostage in Hoboken? Flood Gates Open on ‘Bridgegate’

The mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey says that members of the Chris Christie administration threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy relief funds, unless she fast tracked a development project that would benefit the Rockefeller Group. The Rockefeller Group is represented by Wolff & Samson, the law firm of David Samson. Samson is one of the key figures in the scandal involving the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who represents Hoboken, alleges that she was approached by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who pressured her to approve the development project. Zimmer recalls the interaction as follows:

She pulls me aside and says that I need to move forward with the Rockefeller project. It’s very important to the governor. The word is that you are against it and you need to move forward or we are not going to be able to help you. I know it’s not right. These things should not be connected. But they are, she says.

The mayor also contends that Richard Constable, the current commissioner of community affairs, and Lori Grifa, the former commissioner of community affairs also exerted pressure on her to approve the project. She says Constable told her:

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I hear you’re against the Rockefeller project… If you move that forward, the money would start flowing to you.

Zimmer was opposed to the development project and stated that it is:

not fair for the governor to hold Sandy funds hostage for the city of Hoboken. I cannot give a windfall to one property owner because the governor wants me to in exchange for Sandy funds.

Hoboken was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The storm did over 100 million dollars worth of damage and 80 percent of the homes were flooded. Despite the fact that Hoboken was one of the worst hit cities in New Jersey, the Christie administration has only allocated 342,000 in relief aid to the city, less than one percent of the total requested by Zimmer. That comes out to just 6 dollars per city resident.

If what Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer alleges is true, the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge for a bogus traffic study, scandalous as it is, will pale in comparison to the newly emerging scandal. According to Zimmer, some of Governor Christie’s top officials made Hurricane Sandy relief contingent upon supporting  a development project that would help one of their friends. According to the Mayor’s statements, the Governor’s office was trying to  strong arm her into hook up a friend of theirs while the city of Hoboken was drowning.  If the allegations are proven true, it will show that the Governor held the city of Hoboken hostage to pressure a Mayor into approving a project that would enrich David Samson. Dawn Zimmer did not go along with the plan and the city of Hoboken was denied the aid they needed to recover and rebuild. If that is indeed the case and Chris Christie knew, he should not only stop thinking about a White House run, but he should be removed from office and sent to jail.



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