A spokeswoman for an agency involved in the distribution of Hurricane Sandy relief funds in New Jersey called Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s accusation the administration of Gov. Chris Christie (R) withheld storm aid from her city until she approved a real estate project “categorically false” in an interview with the Star-Ledger Saturday afternoon.
“Mayor Zimmer’s allegation that on May 16, 2013 – in front of a live auditorium audience – (Department of Community Affairs) Commissioner (Richard) Constable conditioned Hoboken’s receipt of Sandy aid on her moving forward with a development project is categorically false,” Department of Community Affairs spokeswoman Lisa Ryan told the newspaper.
Zimmer made her claims Saturday morning on MSNBC’s “Up With Steve Kornacki.” The real estate project was slated for land owned by a company that was a client of a law firm founded by David Samson, a longtime Christie ally who the governor appointed chairman of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey in 2011.
Christie’s office and several of his appointees at the Port Authority, including Samson, were subpoenaed last week by a pair of committees in the Legislature that are investigating lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last September. The closures caused days of paralyzing traffic in Fort Lee, N.J. Some Democrats have alleged Christie’s allies at the Port Authority, which oversees the bridge, ordered the closures to retaliate after Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich declined to endorse Christie’s re-election bid.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D), the chair of the New Jersey General Assembly’s committee investigating the closures issued a statement responding to Zimmer’s claims Saturday. Wisniewski said he plans to “obtain all relevant facts” about the incident and that the committee members will “confer with our special counsel and determine the committee’s best course of action.”