Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Dawn Zimmer on Sunday defended her claims that the New Jersey governor’s office tied Sandy relief aid to a real estate project in Hoboken backed by Gov. Chris Christie (R).
“I stand by my word,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They were holding our Sandy funds hostage.”
Zimmer on Saturday said that Lieutentant Gov. Kim Guadagno told Zimmer that her town would receive a large sum of Sandy relief aid if the mayor pushed for the quick approval of a real estate project important to the governor.
A spokesperson for the state agency that helps disburse emergency relief funds and Christie’s office both pushed back against Zimmer’s claims on Saturday.
Department of Community Affairs spokeswoman Lisa Ryan called the Hoboken’s mayor’s allegations “categorically false.”
Christie spokesman Colin Reed criticized MSNBC for its “partisan” coverage of the governor and claimed that Hoboken got $70 million out of the $100 million the town requested in aid.
Zimmer, however, refutes Reed’s math. The majority of aid Hoboken received was through the federal government, and the state gave the town only about $300,000.
“They’re playing games with the numbers, and that’s a deflection,” Zimmer said Sunday about Christie’s office. “They are hiding behind spokespeople.”
When asked why she waited to come forward about the governor’s office’s efforts to link Sandy aid to the real estate project, Zimmer said she didn’t think anyone would believe her.
“I didn’t think anyone would believe me,” she said. “I wanted Hoboken to still have a chance of getting funding.”
Zimmer was worried that if she accused the governor of withholding funds, Hoboken would receive very little aid.
She added that if the lieutenant governor has to testify, she will tell the truth and admit to holding relief funds hostage.
“I think she will be truthful and the truth will come out,” Zimmer said.