Christie Administration Defends Sandy Aid Distribution
Seeking to right its ship heading into Inauguration Day, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration Monday fended off damaging claims made over the weekend by Hoboken’s Democratic mayor and unleashed a full-throated defense of how it doled out Hurricane Sandy recovery money.
The choreographed offensive included public rebukes from Christie allies Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Marc Ferzan — the governor’s point man on rebuilding after the storm — and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who called Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations "surprising" and "far-fetched."
Zimmer went on national television Saturday and accused the administration, particularly Guadagno and another member of the Christie’s cabinet, of starving Hoboken of storm relief money because she refused to approve a politically connected development project favored by the governor.
The mayor repeated the charges Sunday during a private, two-hour meeting with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of New Jersey.
"Mayor Zimmer’s version of our conversation in May of 2013 is not only false, but is illogical and does not withstand scrutiny," Guadagno said at a news conference in Union Beach. "Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false."
Zimmer fired back that she was "genuinely disappointed" in Guadagno’s denial and said she remained willing to testify under oath. She told The Star-Ledger last night that the U.S. Attorney’s Office was in Hoboken on Monday interviewing people about the allegations.