Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer Not Talking to Media
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer Not Talking to Media

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who has raised allegations that the office of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie strong-armed her over a development project, is on a media hiatus.

Zimmer stated Wednesday that her blitz of media interviews on the topic is over for now.

“The U.S. Attorney’s office has asked that we not conduct additional media interviews and we are respecting their request,” reads the statement.

Zimmer did add that comments she made during interviews and through previous statements are still valid.

On Jan. 19, the mayor met with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for several hours, and handed over her journal and some other documents.

Zimmer’s journal entries from May 2013 describe being pressured by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno to support a Hoboken development project for the Rockefeller Group in exchange for Sandy recovery aid. The journal is considered key to her allegations.

“The Lieutenant Governor came to Hoboken and told me that Sandy aid would be contingent on moving forward with a private development project,” a statement released on the same day reads in part.

Zimmer also said she is willing to testify under oath and to give any additional information that is requested.

On Jan. 20, after Guadagno denied the allegations, Zimmer said she was “genuinely disappointed.”

“Lieutenant Governor Guadagno has lived up to her promise that she would deny linking Hoboken’s application for Sandy hazard mitigation funding with expediting a private development project,” Zimmer said in a statement.

She has also implicated Commissioner Richard Constable of the Department of Community Affairs in the incident.

Lieutenant Governor’s Position

Guadagno, who is New Jersey’s first lieutenant governor, is also the secretary of state and is deeply involved in the state’s economic development. The dual roles and deep involvement with the state’s economy are not typical of such a position.

Though lieutenant governor’s roles and responsibilities vary by state, Guadagno’s additional roles are unusual.

She is chair of the Red Tape Review Commission, which reviews and reforms the state’s regulatory process for business and nonprofit groups. She also oversees promotion of the state’s $38 billion tourism industry and is in charge of state programs for the arts, culture, and history.

Guadagno also oversees the state’s comprehensive economic development strategy, called New Jersey Partnership for Action (PFA).

Under the umbrella of the PFA, Guadagno also heads the Business Action Center, a single point of contact for the business community; the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, dubbed the state’s “bank for business;” and Choose New Jersey, an independently funded and operated nonprofit that works to bolster economic growth throughout New Jersey.

Not every state in the United States has a lieutenant governor, but those that do often put few official responsibilities on them. In Washington state, the lieutenant governor is president of the Senate and holds some other roles that are mostly ornamental.

“There’s an enormous variety in terms of how that office is carried out,” said Brigid Callahan Harrison, professor of political science and law at Montclair State University, who noted that in most states the lieutenant governor is an elected position in and of itself. But in New Jersey, the new role came with high expectations.

“Because this was a new position, this governor was breaking new ground in terms of defining the position,” said Harrison. “Her purview or responsibilities within the area of economic development might be strong, but I think many people anticipated that she’d have a far greater role than she’s actually had.”

Harrison said that Gov. Christie pointed to the lieutenant governor when he came to office as his point person on economic development and is well-liked by New Jersey’s business community. But in reality “she has done little else,” Harrison said.

Guadagno has a strong background in law and leadership positions, including a stint as the first woman sheriff elected in Monmouth County, N.J.

Yet, “It is really difficult for anyone to share the spotlight with Chris Christie,” Harrison said. “It became clear very early on that the administration did not view her as a full partner. Most New Jerseyans are not very familiar with her—it’s become kind of a running joke in the New Jersey media that there is never any press available for the lieutenant governor.”

  • Gin1234

    Any more reports of Christie’s corruption should go to the Feds or some authority that can be trusted, so the Christie Administration doesn’t have time to hear it on the news, and destroy any evidence such as emails or anything else. I suspect that some has been destroyed already in what has been reported.

    • Denni A

      good point, if McDonnell is under indictment by the Feds for some fashion designer clothes and a Rolex Christie is way beyond that in terms of corruption, intimidation and retribution.

      • AskandTell

        This has moved into Eric Holder territory now.

    • LTE2

      “Christie Administration doesn’t have time to hear it on the news”
      .
      More smoke than fire on this story. So far, we just have she said vs she said.

      • Gin1234

        On this one, yes, but overall there is quite a bit of evidence gathered in the PA occurrence. That one is where some of the evidence, emails, or other records have a good chance of having been destroyed over the months since it happened. That is why I think any further reports from anyone at all,should skip the release of it to the news first, and go straight to the authorities. Zimmer put it out to the news first, and gave them time to try to plan in depth how they would respond.

        • AskandTell

          We can assume that is already happening.

          • Gin1234

            Which? Someone else going to the Feds, or information destroyed, or both? I sure hope someone else has something on him.

          • AskandTell

            Others going to the Feds with what they know.

        • LTE2

          “and gave them time to try to plan in depth how they would respond.”

          .
          One should not assume Zimmer isn’t trying to score so easy political points.
          From what I have read so far, Christie could say I thought she was too incompetent to use the recovery money properly or effectively. I didn’t say anything because I was trying to be polite and not hurt her feelings.
          .
          Then what?

          • Gin1234

            I don’t think at this point in time, Christie would be able to say that without looking like he is trying to ruin her. He could say that though, and as far as we know she has no proof or comeback. There does seem to be a pattern developing somewhat, and if others come forward with their own experiences with him and his, then that well support her claims in others eyes. If it comes down to a trial or something, he might have to say what you suggested, but for now, I don’t think it would be good public relations to start making statements on her possible ineptness.

          • AskandTell

            He can say whatever he wants but needs hard evidence to back up any claims. This is no longer playing..it is the Department of Justice.

          • LTE2

            “This is no longer playing..it is the Department of Justice.”
            .
            Christie would know something about that and he could say to Eric Holder personally “I thought she was too incompetent to use the recovery money properly or effectively. I didn’t say anything because I was trying to be polite and not hurt her feelings”.

          • AskandTell

            As I said, that is a subjective statement. Let’s say someone is considered incompetent to handle the money. The answer is not to withhold the money from the city or citizens. It is to get someone into the city to mange the disbursement. He hired a Sandy Czar at $144,000 to just work on Sandy relief efforts and disbursement of federal funds.

            The factual evidence we have is the Hoboken was one of the hardest hit cities and didn’t receive the same level of funding as cities along the shore that had less damage. There is a list of funding by city which you can research if interested.

          • LTE2

            “As I said, that is a subjective statement.”
            .
            Value and best bang for the buck many times IS subjective and can only be judged with hind sight.
            .
            Christie can say, I talked to the best minds in the business and few agreed with Zimmer’s approach. I withheld the release of those funds based on those conversations.
            .
            What other cities got isn’t that important if what Hoboken was going to do with their funds did not seem wise to Christie. Christie would be the one to get the heat if Hoboken came back a few years later saying we have problems.
            .
            Christie at some point will tell his side of the story, then it can be decided if he was playing politics or showing sound judgement.

          • AskandTell

            Yes, we all look forward to understanding the bridge closure conspiracy and the Rockefeller relationship between his appointee to the Port Authority.

  • Algebra Palin

    the cover-up begins!!!!!

    • AskandTell

      I don’t see it as a cover-up. IMO this highlights the seriousness of the investigation. As Gin mentioned, I’m sure there is much more happening that we are not privy to as it should be.

      • Algebra Palin

        yer probably right.
        but something about gag-orders just scream, ‘shut yer mouth’.

      • Denni A

        agree, she is now talking to Federal Investigators, they want to prevent conflicting testimonies and do not want her divulging additional evidence that may come forth.

  • AskandTell

    I saw an interesting picture of Dawn Zimmer sitting in front of microphones (don’t know when it was taken). If you looked closely, you could see a book sitting to her side…..The Jersey Sting. It is about the takedown of the former of Hoboken mayor Peter J Cammarano. Very interesting…..

    • konspikuous

      Sharp, and observant of the details in the background : )

  • AskandTell

    Excellent article titled Things Keep Getting Worse for David Samson.

    Explores his ties to each new allegation and those yet to be explored. Such as his ties to the energy industry and Smart Grid projects that were signed for his clients after Sandy with Federal dollars. David Samson has hired a 2nd attorney in the NJ area that has strong ties to the Democratic party. This attorney is said to be concentrating on the legislative committee’s investigation.

    http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/64084-things-keep-getting-worse-for-david-samson-port-authority-new-york-new-jersey-chris-christie-hoboken-bridge-traffic?linktype=hp_topstory

    • Denni A

      the noose tightens.

  • AskandTell

    MSNBC is reporting….FBI questioning witnesses in Hoboken

    “FBI agents have begun questioning witnesses in the investigation into whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s aides threatened to cut off Hurricane Sandy relief money to Hoboken unless the city’s mayor backed a billion-dollar development project, three sources with direct knowledge of the probe told NBC News on Wednesday.

    Federal prosecutors and agents have also instructed key witnesses to preserve all documents and emails relating to the allegations by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, these sources said.

    The two Zimmer aides are among at least five witnesses who Zimmer told the FBI could confirm that she had previously told them about the conversation she says she had with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno last May. Zimmer has alleged that during that conversation in a parking lot, the lieutenant governor linked Sandy funding to backing of the development project.”

    • Denni A

      Zimmer is building her allegations beyond reasonable doubt, the Lt Gov has done nothing to bolster her credibility and denouncement. I hope they find emails and/or text documents of communication on this between Christie and the Lt Gov.

  • AskandTell

    Excellent article on who Dawn Zimmer is and how she became mayor….one month into the former mayor’s term, he was arrested in a real estate developer sting. She had lost the mayor’s race to him. The most revealing point…

    Ms. Zimmer said her campaign was also approached in the sting but she would not agree to a meeting.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/nyregion/making-claim-towns-mayor-gains-notice.html?hpw&rref=nyregion&_r=0

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