Matt Katz, New Jersey Public Radio
New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno denied on Monday allegations made by the mayor of Hoboken that the administration of Gov. Chris Christie used federal funds designated for Sandy relief to push for approval of a real estate project in her town.
Speaking at a press conference in Union Beach, N.J., Guadagno said she was surprised that Mayor Dawn Zimmer would "mischaracterize a conversation" between them.
"Standing in Union Beach as we are today, with some of the mayors whose towns were devastated by Sandy and being a Sandy victim myself, makes these allegations particularly offensive to me," she said.
"In short, 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."
Guadagno refused to take questions from the media. She quickly left the site where she originally was scheduled to participate in a volunteer project in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
A short time later, Zimmer responded:
“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,” she said in a written statement. “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 conversation 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.”
The redevelopment deal in Hoboken was being handled by David Samson, the chairman of the Port Authority who has been implicated in subpoenaed documents as one of the close Christie confidantes involved in keeping the so-called Bridgegate scandal quiet. It was a high-rise office tower where a warehouse now stands; the local planning board rejected the re-development plan.
Prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's office in Newark continue to investigate allegations that traffic lanes connecting the town of Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge were closed in an act of political punishment.