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Hoboken Mayor's Sandy Funding Accusations 'Demonstrably False,' Report Says

Despite internal report findings, Dawn Zimmer says she would reiterate her claims against governor's office under oath.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer (Patch file photo)
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer (Patch file photo)
Chris Christie's attorneys conducting an internal investigation found no evidence supporting the Hoboken mayor's allegations the governor's office threatened to withhold Sandy recovery funds in exchange for the city's approval of a redevelopment project.

In a 360-page report released Thursday mostly claiming the governor was not involved in the "Bridgegate" scandal, the law firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher rebuff Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer's accusations that made national headlines earlier this year.

Randy Mastro, a lawyer with the firm, claims the governor's office never threatened Zimmer and Hoboken received its fair share of Sandy aid.

"Every person we interviewed involved in allocating and administering Sandy aid programs confirmed that politics played no role whatsoever in the allocation of these funds, and that Sandy aid has never been tied to any political favor, such as an endorsement or support for a favored private development project," Mastro wrote in the report.

"Rather, all involved have reported that Sandy aid has been  based solely on objective criteria in a transparent process, and the evidences shows this has been the directive from Governor Christie himself."

Zimmer first appeared on MSNBC and then several other media networks in January, claiming Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno Richard Constable, the current commissioner of community affairs, Marc Ferzan, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, pressured her to approve the $1 billion Rockefeller Group project intended to revitalize Hoboken's north end.

"After interviewing dozens of witnesses inside and outside the Christie Administration, and reviewing reams of documents, we have found no support for Mayor Zimmer’s allegations," according to the report.

"Indeed, Mayor Zimmer’s allegations are directly contradicted in material respects by contemporaneous documentary evidence, including emails, documents, photographs, eyewitness accounts, and publicly recorded statements. Whether intentional or not, it appears that Mayor Zimmer’s subjective perception of the events she has described do not reflect objective reality, and that she has drawn connections between Sandy aid and the Rockefeller Group project that simply do not exist."

Zimmer called the internal investigation's report a "one-sided whitewash of serious misconduct by the Christie Administration.” The mayor said the report was biased and she would stand behind her allegations under oath.

Guadagno also released a statement Thursday, maintaining the allegations were "demonstrably false" and called Zimmer's version of events "fictional."

"When I addressed the allegations made by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer in January, I categorically denied them as false and illogical," Guadagno said. "I also stated that my position would be borne out by a full evaluation of the facts.

"Now, after an exhaustive review, it is clear that Mayor Zimmer’s allegations do not stand up to scrutiny, and in truth, are demonstrably false based on contemporaneous documents, other witness accounts, and her own prior statement(s), all contained in the report. In fact, Mayor Zimmer’s version of events was and is fictional."

The report claims Zimmer and Guadagno "have different recollections of their meeting" at a ShopRite event on May 13, 2013.

"The Lieutenant Governor recalled that her conversation with Mayor Zimmer was tense. They had a good relationship before this exchange; the Lieutenant Governor even had a photo of herself with Mayor Zimmer in her office," according to the report.

"But on this occasion, the Lieutenant Governor recalled having to be firm with Mayor Zimmer and being frustrated with Mayor Zimmer’s single-minded focus on Hoboken, as Mayor Zimmer was failing to recognize the needs of the State as a whole, especially when many communities on the New Jersey shore (including Monmouth Beach, the Lieutenant Governor’s own shore community home) had experienced immense destruction."

The report also claims Zimmer's accusation that Commissioner Constable threatened her three days later at a town hall event was also untrue.

Zimmer called the report's findings "sadly predictable" and it "reinforces the soundness of the decision I made not to cooperate with Mr. Mastro’s so-called investigation."
Pops April 01, 2014 at 03:26 PM
@Cassandra, perhaps you overlooked my previous comments. here it is: "@Cassandra, did you actually watch the program? It starts off with a story from the Asbury Park Press were Mayor Doherty says he didn't hear anything at the event. Then Christie's legal team get to him and he suddenly claims to recall hearing the conversation. Then by the end of the interview, he admits he may not have heard everything discussed. I'm not sure he could be more contradictory and, thus, essentially worthless as a "witness". Wonder what he'll say under oath?"
BellairBerdan April 01, 2014 at 05:26 PM
cassandra is the spinmeister! Or she's just a typical spurned hysterical woman that can't be trusted with anything and needs to feel validated by all the men around her.
cassandra April 02, 2014 at 10:49 AM
One by one the hacks identify themselves. Too bad we can't tell if they are all one person with different logins or really different people. I have my doubts. The ad hominems continue. I prefer sticking to facts.
Pops April 02, 2014 at 11:07 AM
@Cassandra, how is my comment any sort of a "hack" statement or attack on you? I asked you a simple, legitimate question which you have ignored twice, leading everyone to believe that perhaps (!) you are the one who is being closed minded. For the third time, let me repeat the question: "...did you actually watch the program? It starts off with a story from the Asbury Park Press were Mayor Doherty says he didn't hear anything at the event. Then Christie's legal team get to him and he suddenly claims to recall hearing the conversation. Then by the end of the interview, he admits he may not have heard everything discussed. I'm not sure he could be more contradictory and, thus, essentially worthless as a "witness". Wonder what he'll say under oath?"
demosthenes April 02, 2014 at 12:09 PM
What's actually pretty funny is the Christie apologists are all over saying the Hoboken lawyer who was subpoenaed can't really be a "witness" because he didn't hear the actual conversation between the Mayor and the Lt. Gov. Yet Randy Mastro touts the Belmar Mayor as a "witness" because he didn't hear the conversation between Zimmer and Constable. You are wrong though Pops about Mayor Doherty being "worthless" as a witness. He can testify as to whether Randy Mastro and his crack team of ex-prosecutors were aware that he had not heard the whole conversation, yet mischaracterized his account in their Report. And he can testify about who asked him to take part in the cover-up.

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