The latest of two major allegations swirling around New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has now boiled down to this: it’s a matter of she said she said. New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is vehemently denying that she told Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that if her city wanted all the hurricane Sandy relief money it sought, she’d have to green light a big redevelopment project Christie was pushing.
New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno denied “whole-heartedly” allegations Monday that she gave Hoboken’s Mayor an ultimatum to support a redevelopment plan backed by Gov. Chris Christie in order to receive Hurricane Sandy recovery aid.
“Mayor Zimmer’s version of our conversation in May of 2013 is not only false but is illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined. Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false,” she said at a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday service project in Union Beach.
Guadagno’s remarks were the first time a senior Christie official addressed the charges Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer first made Saturday on MSNBC and detailed to CNN on Sunday.
Yesterday Zimmer talked to the U.S. Attorney, turned over a diary in which she detailed the allegations as they allegedly occurred and said she agreed to testify under oath about what happened.
Guadagno’s denial flies in the face of claims made by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who said Sunday that Guadagno told her to support a redevelopment project backed by Christie or loose Sandy recovery funds.
Zimmer also connected Christie to the threat, saying that Guadagno told her the message was coming directly from Christie.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Zimmer said, “She said that to me — is that this is a direct message from the Governor,” Zimmer said, referring to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who Zimmer said approached her in a parking lot in May to deliver the message.
Note Politico’s take on what this means. This will become the new press narrative, because it is indeed true:
“Standing in Union Beach as we are today with some of the mayors who towns were devastated by Sandy, and also being a Sandy victim myself, makes the mayor’s allegations particularly offensive to me,” Guadagno said.
“The suggestion that anyone would hold back Sandy relief funds for any reasons is wholly and completely false,” the lieutenant governor added.
This is just another blow for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who has been facing his own allegations for months that a controversial lane closure in September was another instance of political payback. The Republican governor has continued to deny any involvement on knowledge of the lane closures, and last week hired legal counsel as an investigation into the bridge flap gets underway.
If this goes to court there is one certainty here: Someone will face a trial for perjury. Meanwhile, look for Democrats and Republicans to now line up behind their party’s member in this latest Christie related scandal. Danger for Christie: all of these problems could eventually undermine both the support he had among Democrats and his selling point that he could work well with Democrats.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.