Two senior members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration warned a New Jersey mayor earlier this year that her town would be starved of hurricane relief money unless she approved a lucrative redevelopment plan favored by the governor, according to the mayor and emails and personal notes she shared with msnbc.
The mayor, Dawn Zimmer, hasn’t approved the project, but she did request $127 million in hurricane relief for her city of Hoboken – 80% of which was underwater after Sandy hit in October 2012. What she got was $142,000 to defray the cost of a single back-up generator plus an additional $200,000 in recovery grants.
In this account – supported by email, public records and Zimmer’s own diary entries – Christie’s inner circle was willing to cut off devastated constituents, muscle a friendly mayor and arrange public funds to finance a study for a project the governor supported.In a news conference last week, Christie rejected the notion that his administration engages in retribution or seeks political payback. Zimmer’s account paints a different portrait.
Zimmer claims they leaned on her twice to get their way. By the second encounter, Zimmer said – this time with Constable – the 45-year-old mayor and mother of two young children was despondent, according to her own notes.
“I was emotional about governor Christie,” she wrote in a diary entry she provided that is dated May 17, 2013. “I thought he was honest. I thought he was moral. I thought he was something very different. This week I found out he’s cut from the same corrupt cloth that I have been fighting for the last four years.” ”