News / USA

Christie's No. 2 Denies Linking Sandy Funds to Development

FILE - Governor Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno hold a news conference after visiting residents and touring flood damaged areas from Superstorm Sandy in Moonachie, New Jersey, November 2012.
FILE - Governor Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno hold a news conference after visiting residents and touring flood damaged areas from Superstorm Sandy in Moonachie, New Jersey, November 2012.
Reuters
New Jersey's lieutenant governor on Monday denied a claim by the mayor of Hoboken that Governor Chris Christie's administration linked release of Superstorm Sandy relief funds to approval of a Hoboken development project.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno warned her that Christie would withhold disaster recovery funding if Zimmer did not support a bid by the New York-based Rockefeller Group to build on several blocks in the New Jersey city.

The Democratic mayor's claim has added to political woes for Christie, who is widely seen as a Republican contender for the White House in 2016. Christie already is grappling with a scandal tied to his top aides who seemingly punished the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, by orchestrating chaotic traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge.

Christie has been on a fundraising trip in Florida over the weekend. His spokesman has dismissed the Hoboken mayor's claims as false, as did Guadagno on Monday at a public appearance in Union Beach, 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 when all of the facts are examined,” said Guadagno.

“Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false,” she said, adding, “Being a Sandy victim myself makes the mayor's allegations particularly offensive to me.”

In response, the Hoboken mayor said she was “genuinely disappointed” that Christie's second-in-command “would deny linking Hoboken's application for Sandy hazard mitigation funding with expediting a private development project.”

Zimmer, who said she met on Sunday with members of the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey, also said she gave them her journal, which describes her conversation with Guadagno.

“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,” she said in a statement.

Zimmer has said she and the lieutenant governor discussed the Sandy funds in a parking lot before an event in Hoboken in May.

Recounting that conversation on CNN on Sunday, Zimmer said: “The lieutenant governor said, essentially: 'You've got to move forward with the Rockefeller project,”' Zimmer said on Sunday, saying Guadagno called it “a direct message from the governor.”

Zimmer also said she has only received a fraction of the $127 million in relief funds she requested for Hoboken, which is across the Hudson River from Manhattan and was badly flooded by Sandy in late 2012.

The mayor first made her accusations Saturday on MSNBC.

Guadagno said she looked forward to inquiries into the controversy so the truth would emerge. “I deny any suggestions made by Mayor Zimmer that there was ever any condition placed on the release of Sandy funds by me,” she said, adding that she was “surprised that Mayor Zimmer has chosen to mischaracterize the conversation I had with her about development and job creation in Hoboken.”

Christie's weekend trip to Florida to raise money for Republican Governor Rick Scott was his first political trip since his office was engulfed by scandal this month.

Christie - who held a nearly two-hour-long news conference on January 9 in which he said he had been blindsided and humiliated by some of his staff, whom he accused of lying - said in an interview published on Monday by Yahoo News that he expected “to learn from this.”

“I know I will. I don't know exactly what it is yet that I'll learn from it. But when I get the whole story and really try to understand what's going on here, I know I'm going to learn things,” Christie said in the interview conducted Friday by Yahoo.

The political tempest erupted with the release of emails that seemed to show some of his closest aides purposely snarling traffic in Fort Lee by closing two out of three access lanes to the busy bridge linking New Jersey and New York City.

The lane closures appeared to be retribution against Fort Lee's Democratic mayor, who declined to endorse Christie for re-election.

Christie has said he did not know of his aides' plans, and he fired and cut ties with them after their roles were revealed.

Federal prosecutors and both chambers of the state legislature are investigating the lane closings, which occurred without notice for four days in September.

Nearly two dozen New Jersey officials, including most of Christie's inner circle, were served with subpoenas on Friday over the lane closures.

Federal officials also are reviewing Christie's use of about $2 million in storm Sandy relief funds for a tourism campaign that features him and his family. New Jersey Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone requested the probe, saying he was concerned about the bidding process for the marketing campaign.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More