N.J. Lt. Gov. Denies Strong-Arming Mayor Over Sandy Relief Funds
New Jersey's Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is firing back at Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who says Superstorm Sandy recovery funds to her city were held up when she refused to sign off on a politically connected real estate deal.
Zimmer said over the weekend that during a mall opening event in May, Guadagno pulled her aside to say she needed to "move forward" on the real estate deal or "we are not going to be able to help you."
Zimmer says she asked the state for $100 million in aid. She received around $142,000.
Guadagno on Monday called the accusation "false" and "illogical."
Speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemoration in Union City, Guadagno said that the mayor's take on the conversation "is not only false but is illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined.
"Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false," she said, according to The Associated Press.
The denial echoes similar comments made earlier by a spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie as well as the agency responsible for distributing storm relief aid.
As The Two-Way's Eyder Peralta reported on Saturday, Zimmer, a Democrat, was a one-time supporter of Republican Christie, whose administration is embroiled in a scandal involving the closure of some lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge. The action, which caused massive delays and congestion, was later revealed to be part of a political vendetta that Christie says was carried out by members of his staff without his permission. Federal authorities and state lawmakers are looking into the bridge scandal.
The AP says Zimmer "met with investigators from the U.S. attorney's office for several hours Sunday afternoon and gave them journal entries she said were made at the time of the conversation. She has also offered to take a lie-detector test or testify under oath."
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