Monday, January 20, 2014

BREAKING: Video of Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno response: 'allegations are false'

The following video comes from Gov. Christie's YouTube channel featuring the Lt. Governor's remarks earlier today on the emerging SandyGate scandal.

The Lt. Governor did not take any questions.

Talking Ed Note: The conflict is evident, the stakes are obviously of national importance and the positions of the respective sides are irrevocably in conflict.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno comes out with statement denying SandyGate

SandyGate Breaking News

First comment from direct Christie official involved in Mayor Zimmer's charges linking Sandy aid to approval of the Rockefeller Group development project

Mayor Zimmer directly responds challenging the Lieutenant Governor

Lt. Governor Kim Guardagno, a direct party to the Hoboken conversation last May with Mayor Dawn Zimmer concerning Sandy aid is denying the allegation she made any "direct threat" to the Hoboken mayor linking hurricane relief to approval of a proposed massive development in the Mile Square City for the Rockefeller Group.

For the first time, a senior member of the Gov. Christie administration who is alleged conversation with Mayor Dawn Zimmer on the subject of Sandy aid to Hoboken and the allegation of its connection to development approval for the Rockefeller

The statement appeared on minutes earlier saying:

A late Monday morning NJ Star Ledger story directly quotes the Lt. Governor at a MLK appearance where she says,
"Standing in Union Beach today with some of the mayors whose towns were devastated by Sandy and also being a Sandy victim myself makes the mayor's allegations particularly offensive to me."

Mayor Dawn Zimmer responded late Monday morning in a statement:

"I am genuinely disappointed that 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.

I met with the U.S. Attorney for over two hours yesterday, answered all their questions and turned over my journal in which I described my conversations with the Lieutenant Governor and Commissioner Constable.  I stand by my word, remain willing to testify under oath, and I will continue to answer any questions asked of me by the U.S. Attorney's office."

On Sunday, Mayor Zimmer expressed confidence the Lt. Governor would tell the truth of their conversation at the Hoboken Shoprite last May verifying the mayor's allegations if she did so "under oath."

Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno back in
2011 at the July 1st swearing in of council members at Hoboken City Hall.

Copyright 2011, all rights reserved.

The escalation in a war of words today means the battle on what transpired is sure to continue with political implications for all and a national focus on the possible impact for Gov. Christie in his effort to be a presidential candidate in 2016.

Last night the Hoboken mayor's office released a statement saying she had met with the US Attorney's Office over hours discussing the controversy at the request of the law enforcement agency.

The Lt. Governor is a former sheriff and US Attorney in Newark and worked with Gov. Chris Christie in his lead role as US Attorney in the Newark Office.

Here is the full transcript of the mayor's appearance yesterday on CNN.  The question of timing in the mayor's coming forward is discussed at length.

The full video of the Sunday interview:

CNN Transcript - Mayor Dawn Zimmer & Candy Crowley:

CROWLEY: New Jersey governor, Chris Christie's camp is pushing back hard against claims that his administration threatened to withhold superstorm Sandy relief funds for political reasons. Hoboken mayor, Dawn Zimmer, says Christie administration officials indicated that her city would not receive aid if she failed to support a development project favored by the governor.

In one of several handwritten notes about the governor that she has made public, Mayor Zimmer wrote, "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've been fighting for the last four years. I am so disappointed. It literally brings tears to my eyes."

Joining me now, Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Thank you, madam mayor, for being here this morning. I know you're kind of fighting losing your voice so hopefully you won't in the middle of this interview. But let me ask you first. This happened early last year. Correct? In May of last year...


CROWLEY: ...when a couple of officials you say -- said to you, listen, Sandy relief aid will in fact may be jeopardized if you don't go along with this redevelopment plan. Why are you here now?

ZIMMER: Well, you know, back in May when the lieutenant governor came and very directly said to me that these two things are connected, I -- you know, I didn't think anyone would believe me. I really didn't. I mean I do, looking back, probably should have come forward but I really didn't think anyone would believe me and quite frankly, if I came forward, no one believes me, then I'm going to put Hoboken in an even worse position and my number one priority as a mayor of Hoboken is to fight to make sure that we can get as many Sandy funds as possible. That's my number one priority. And I was really concerned that if I came forward, no one believed me, that we would really be cut out of the Sandy funding. But as I watched the coverage with bridge-gate, you do see parallels. I just felt I had an obligation to come forward and as I look for the second tranche of funding come through, I'm concerned we're going to be cut out.

CROWLEY: So -- but we have seen since this happened in May, which I have recorded in your diary, we have seen you complement the mayor. We have seen you several months later say in a tweet, I'm so glad that Chris Christie is our governor. So can you square that for me? Because as you know, coming at this point, what the Chris Christie office says is this -- this is just politics. Why can this not be seen through a political lens?

ZIMMER: Well I mean that's part of the reason that this was so hard because I do have a really -- I did have a really good relationship so I couldn't believe that they were doing this. The bottom line is that the Christie administration's response is one of deflection. I mean the major question is, did they connect Sandy funding, Hoboken Sandy funding to the Rockefeller project. The fact is that is what they did. I'm coming forward. I'm sharing my story directly. I'm here talking to you. I'm sharing my journal. I'm offering to testify under oath. What are they doing? They're hiding behind spokes people and in fact the lieutenant governor was reached directly by the Bergen Record and she declined to comment. I believe if and when she is asked to testify under oath, the truth will come out because I believe she will be truthful and she will tell the truth.

CROWLEY: OK. Anything that connects directly to Chris Christie on this? I mean I understand that he had a relationship with -- you're talking to his lieutenant governor, that you're talking to others in his administration that he has a relationship with this Rockefeller group. But, is there -- did he ever say anything to you? Did you ever not get funds? I know you didn't get everything you wanted, but I imagine (ph) that's true of most cities in New Jersey.

ZIMMER: Well, I think we really got shortchanged on the funding. We've been saying from the very start that we have severe needs and that we need to look at this comprehensively and we've been asking them again and again. Now the fact is that she came, lieutenant governor pulled me aside and said essentially, you got to move forward with the Rockefeller project. This project is really important to the governor. And she said that she had been with him on Friday night and that this was a direct message from the governor.

CROWLEY: So she said -- she said that to you.

ZIMMER: She said that to me, is that this is a direct message from the governor. I was with him on Friday night.

Complete transcript continues at the jump: