January 18

Mayor: Christie aides tied Sandy funds to project

Hoboken mayor claims the administration withheld millions in storm recovery money because she refused to sign off on a politically connected development.

By Angela Delli Santi
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faces a big test this weekend following the eruption of a political scandal in his home state, the latest in Hoboken.

The Associated Press

The Sandy aid matter is the second time in recent weeks Christie’s administration has been accused of exacting retribution for political reasons.

Christie’s chief of staff, chief counsel, chief political strategist and two-time campaign manager have all been subpoenaed for documents related to the September closing of approach lanes near the George Washington Bridge, which led to traffic chaos in the town of Fort Lee across the river from New York City.

The agency that runs the bridge, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is chaired by David Samson, whose law firm, Wolff & Samson, represented the developer in the Hoboken matter, according to Zimmer. A phone message left at the firm’s office was not returned Saturday.

Christie’s former community affairs commissioner, Lori Grifa, was a lobbyist promoting the Rockefeller Group’s plans for the Hoboken project, according the MSNBC. The network quoted emails from Grifa that appear to confirm her work on behalf of the developer.

Twenty new subpoenas issued in the bridge closure matter on Friday reach deep into the Christie administration, the port authority, and his re-election campaign, but spare the governor himself.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is reviewing the lane closings and a legislative panel is investigating who authorized the apparent plot and why.

Zimmer said she is telling her story in hopes that Hoboken gets much-needed assistance in the second wave of relief funding yet to be approved by the federal government for distribution by the state. That money, total of $1.4 billion to be distributed through the state Community Development Block Grant program, is awaiting federal approval. The focus will be on improving infrastructure, Community Affairs spokeswoman Lisa Ryan said.

Interviewed by the Associated Press last month, Zimmer voiced concerns about the lack of storm aid to her town, but expressed hope that the administration would come through in the next round. She did not mention the real estate development in the interview with the AP.

Associated Press reporter Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton contributed to this report.

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