What's the Big Deal About the Hoboken Development Deal?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Gov. Chris Christie arriving at Fort Lee to apologize to Mayor Mark Sokolich after Gov. Chris Christie arriving at Fort Lee to apologize to Mayor Mark Sokolich. (Spencer Platt/Getty)

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer says the Christie administration made Sandy aid contingent upon a development project. Sarah Gonzalez, WNYC's northern New Jersey enterprise reporter, talks about the history of the Rockefeller project, and we take calls from Hoboken residents about the role of development in their town.


Sarah Gonzalez

Comments [16]

mike from long island

Christie = Guiliani.

two arrogant blowhards who made their bones on the misery of others, the 9-11 attack and superstorm sandy.

people get into politics for basically 2 reasons. self interest, or a genuine desire to make a place better. unfortunately, there are many , many more that do it for self interest, and those greater numbers always crush the idealistic ones. dont forget the fact that idealism doesnt attract big money.

Jan. 21 2014 12:49 PM
Paul from Hoboken

I have lived in Hoboken for 20 years. I can attest that the cronyism and corruption involved in development deals in this town is staggering. I do not think Dawn Zimmer moved to Hoboken with a eye on being mayor but once here she wanted to make it a better place - and it is a much better place because of her. She soon discovered however just how rotten politics in this town can be. That is why Christie is such a disappointment, he is part of that New Jersey rot. Dawn championed him early because he seemed to be invested in helping Hoboken but his investment seemed to be more geared towards helping his cronies. It seems Christie simply couldn't let a disaster go unexploited. I challenge news organizations to look deeply at all the threads among the players in this story, especially that of the Port Authority whose study gave preference to the Rockefeller Group's properties in Hoboken and zoned them for 'redevelopment' rather than 'rehabilitation.' This would have given the Rockefeller Group the advantage of large tax abatements. Please also look deeply into David Samson, Christie confidante, and his role as head of the law firm that represents the Rockefeller Group. He also happens to be Christie's appointee to the chair of the Port Authority....the very organization that issued the report on redeveloping Northwestern Hoboken.

Jan. 21 2014 12:03 PM
Kim G from NYC

Kimmie's proving to be a real "G", in that she actually used the phrase "On the Waterfront" in her "illogical" speech yesterday. It doesn't get more G than that.
Someone get this woman her own reality TV show already.

Jan. 21 2014 10:34 AM

The audio of Ms. Guadagno's non-denial denial (yet another Watergate-ism) does not sound believable. The video is far more believable but (for me) neither is convincing. Too many signs of deception. The extra info of 'We met and walked together. Why would she do that?' is a non-sequitur. Parse the LT Gov's denial carefully and it doesn't match the content of Zimmer's recollections.

[I also have problems with the mayor's 'journal'. Would any court accept it as evidence? I think not.]

Jan. 21 2014 10:33 AM

Christine inauguration celebration tonight canceled due to weather.

Jan. 21 2014 10:30 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

Brian, there is no there-there in the comment you played. As you tacitly acknowledge, hers was a generic statement complementing Christie's effort to get federal funding. From my perspective there is nothing wrong with or any connection from it to the claims of Zimmer. A bit of fuzzy journalism I don't expect of you but more of Fox.

Jan. 21 2014 10:30 AM

Since Christie thrives on attention and adulation - why shouldn't mayor Dawn Zimmer use flattery to appease Christie since she wouldn't "deliver" the Rockefeller development project? Seems 'logical' to me.

Jan. 21 2014 10:29 AM
Peter from Park Slope

As to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s pushing back so affirmatively and decisively, that has Randy Mastro's fingerprints all over it. (Mastro is co-chair of Gibson, Dunn's crisis management group, and a very good lawyer.) With respect to any damaging revelations in the future, expect a counter-narrative swiftly advanced by Governor Cristie's team.

Jan. 21 2014 10:27 AM
CCinNJ from Montclair, NJ

While it's important to look at the distributions to determine whether Sandy funds actually were withheld from Hoboken, let's not lose sight of the fact that if we believe Zimmer (and I do), then we should be very disturbed that the threat was made whether or not it was actually carried out. The governor's office may have made the threat and then decided not to carry it out for whatever reason--which is still despicable. Also, it may have been a matter of offering the mayor more than her share of funds IF she let the Rockefeller development sail through without due diligence. So maybe it was not so much a matter of withholding funds as giving her an abundance of funds--like a bribe.

Jan. 21 2014 10:27 AM
KB from Hoboken

I'm no Christie supporter, but Dawn Zimmer originally questioned whether the fact that she didn't endorse Christie was the reason why Hoboken didn't get the grant she requested:

Why didn't she mention this when she first started questioning Christie's tactics?

Jan. 21 2014 10:18 AM
BK from Hoboken

In regards to Zimmers accusations, I compare this situation to many other scandals involving powerful figures. Look at the San Diego mayor recently- he vociferously denied the initial accusations of sexual harassment and called the accusation baseless and crazy. But when more and more people can come forward with similar stories, it makes the accusers a lot more credible. If Zimmer accused CC on her own many months ago, she would have looked like a kook. Now she looks like others who ran into the CC administration buzz saw.

Jan. 21 2014 10:18 AM
Robert from NYC

Guadagno pronounced Guadaño (gn = ñ)

Jan. 21 2014 10:13 AM

Jan. 21 2014 10:12 AM
Cathty from Hoboken, NJ

I live on the edge of a residential neighborhood of brownstones and up to 5 story apt buildings one block from this proposed development and highly disapprove of having a 40 story office tower looming over our area. This part of Hoboken does need redevelopment but an overall plan is needed for it, not something like this. Traffic and parking in this area is already horrendous as well. Zimmer has been a very progressive mayor and a reformer. The people I know as well, as myself, all believe her allegations

Jan. 21 2014 10:09 AM

I would like to know about the 3 of 7 people on Hoboken's planning board who voted in favor of giving the Rockefeller Group the redevelopment designation they were seeking... who are those 3 people and why did they vote that way?

Jan. 21 2014 10:08 AM
BK from Hoboken

As a hoboken resident, any and all development deals are shady in hoboken. One of the largest recent deals was the construction of the W hotel. This was a PRIME piece of waterfront real estate where the developer should have been offering the city something in return for developing and then also asking for an exception to build about 10 stories higher than code. Instead, somehow the city gave the developer a tax abatement! So the most expensive real estate in town (the condos in there sold for $1000/sq foot) got a tax abatement!!! That is insane. Oh wait, the developer was Applied Companies, the largest landowner in town. Ahaaaaa

Jan. 21 2014 10:08 AM

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