Monmouth Mayors Cast Doubt On Zimmer’s Quid Pro Quo Claims

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer on MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki, January 18, 2014

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki, January 18, 2014

Monmouth County mayors and other municipal officials are reacting to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations that her city is not receiving Sandy Relief funds because she hasn’t pushed through a redevelopment approval coveted by Governor Chris Christie with a high degree of skepticism, because their storm ravaged communities have yet to see significant money yet either.

One elected official who asked not to be quoted said, “If Hoboken had approved that Rockefeller project, Zimmer would still be standing on her head at a Hoboken street corner looking for her Sandy money. The money hasn’t started to flow yet.”

“Is it believable that Guadagno (Lt. Governor Kim Guadango) or Constable (DCA Commissioner Richard Constable) encouraged Zimmer to expedite an project? Yes.  As a quid pro quo for Sandy dollars? No way,” another official said.

Zimmer alleged on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki this morning that Guadagno pulled her aside at a Hoboken ribbon cutting and warned that Sandy Relief money to Hoboken was contingent on a development application by the Rockefeller Group being approved by the city. Zimmer said that Constable told her at a Monmouth University symposium on Sandy recovery that relief dollars would flow if the Rockefeller application was approved.

After talking to local and state officials today, MMM understands that the federal money for Sandy Relief is flowing dripping through four sources; FEMA, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) which administers relief for homeowners, the New Jersey Economic Development Agency(EDA) and County Governments which are administering Hazard Mitigation Grants.  The Hazard Mitigation Grants are funded by FEMA and distributed to the counties by the State Office of Emergency Management.

Hoboken’s clean up and repair money would not have been administered by the Christie Administration.  That money comes directly from FEMA.  Hoboken was approved for almost $6 million from FEMA last May, according to a report in HobokenPatch.   The $127 million in requests that Zimmer referred to on Up with Steve Kornacki is for Hazard Mitigation, that would be administered through the Hudson County Executive and Board of Freeholders, and new projects that would be considered by EDA.

FEMA reimburses municipalities directly for clean up and repairs.  While a great deal of the clean up and repair expenses have been approved by FEMA, most of that money has not been paid to the municipalities yet.  Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan said that his borough has only received about 40% of its approved FEMA reimbursements so far. Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said his borough’s iconic boardwalk rebuilding has not yet been reimbursed by FEMA.  Both mayors said their projects have been approved and they anticipate the money, but it is a slow bureaucratic process. Another municipal elected official who asked not to be quoted said that Highlands’ 40% reimbursement from FEMA sounds very high compared to what other towns are seeing, and that Highlands must be further along in the process than most.

Middletown Township Committeeman Tony Fiore, who was mayor during Sandy and the first year of recovery said, “There has never been any quid pro quo suggested from anyone in the state with regard to Sandy money. Middletown has received some of its clean-up money and we’ve been approved for a $375 thousand planning study, but haven’t seen that money. Other than that, the only money Middletown has seen is $1.5 million in SHRAP grants, which is federal money we received from the County to help residents pay their bills.”

“It’s taking way too long for Sandy money to flow,” Fiore said, “but that’s because of federal and state bureaucracy.”

Doherty said Belmar has an application worth about $3 million with EDA that has been in process for months, but that he does not expect an answer until late April.

“Dawn Zimmer is egregiously out of line,” said an official on the condition of anonymity, “she’s trying to make herself relevant in the larger Bridgegate story, and distance herself from Christie to get back in the good graces of the Democratic party.”



Posted: January 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Dawn Zimmer, EDA, FEMA, Hoboken | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

19 Comments on “Monmouth Mayors Cast Doubt On Zimmer’s Quid Pro Quo Claims”

  1. Zimmer: Heroine or Fibber? | The Save Jersey Blog said at 2:39 pm on January 18th, 2014:

    […] Plenty of Garden State mayors are coming forward and questioning the credibility of Zimmer’s narrative. […]

  2. The first clue that she's lying? said at 2:41 pm on January 18th, 2014:

    She was on MSNBC, which probably has a dragnet out for anyone that is willing to lie and castigate the Governor for anything at all.

    What’s next, someone complaining that some gubmint building isn’t cleaned properly?

  3. Joe Wedick said at 2:57 pm on January 18th, 2014:

    Keep the focus where it belongs on WHAT she said not WHERE she said it.
    How much of Hoboken’s $127 million Sandy money does Christie have any direct control of? They have to get that figure out to the public and while doing it, explain why it is at the point of the process it is – quickly. THEN have the Lt Gov. (not the Gov.) get out there and, citing the faulty monetary claims of the mayor, explain that likewise the mayor’s recollection of events is also faulty and cannot be trusted by any reasonable person.

  4. Great line Joe! said at 3:11 pm on January 18th, 2014:

    Your right, the Lt. governor should get to Hoboken–or anywhere at this point to refute Zimmer’s allegations. If she doesn’t stamp out this little fire before it becomes a raging inferno–there may be credence to her claims.

  5. bob walsh said at 3:50 pm on January 18th, 2014:

    Ridiculous that they smell a little blood and minnows turn into sharks and start circling. No complaints about Democratic Senators, Assemblyman, or members of Congress from Hudson County !!! I wonder why,just a coincidence I’ll assume as this couldn’t of been a political statement!
    If this was true much would of been said long before this in my opinion.

  6. Dem Double Standard said at 4:12 pm on January 18th, 2014:

    It’s always the same: if a Dem falls short or does something wrong, they circle their wagons, and just dig in, deflect over to others, cast more blame,and stay.. And all lib media backs them up and saves them.. When a Republican screws up- the Dems are like rabid dogs with a piece of meat, slathering and biting, relentlessly, until there is nothing left of the person/ party.. And all lib media backs that up.. Our main problem seems to be the lack of plans, lack of strategies, no bag of remedies or talking points, at the ready, to try and survive a problem.. Guess that translates into lack of leadership, teamwork and foresight, doesn’t it? To live in politics in NJ, you must go to the school of real grassroots campaigning, real hard volunteer work, meeting real people and spending the time to find out what they need and want, and how to convince them you will do a better job for them.. We do not seem to be out there as much, hob-nobing and listening.. We have too many self-serving”stars” who want the glory but do little to earn it. We do not have a few strong leaders who get it, work it, win, and look ahead to the next challenge and campaign- we are all crisis management and last- minute, diluted reaction: they are full-time bulldogs who never quit- therein lies the difference between success and failure.

  7. Bob English said at 7:16 pm on January 18th, 2014:

    Note that Mayor Zimmer offered to take a lie detector test and challenged others to do the same….would actually be must see tv!!

  8. Proud Republican said at 7:19 pm on January 18th, 2014:

    Ask anyone in Zimmer’s administration and they will tell you she is a supreme airhead. She had more airtime after Sandy than any other mayor and couldn’t say enough good about the governor’s efforts before and after Sandy. Now this? Get real. It is obvious that the dirtbag democrats twisted her arm to make amends for her initial praise of Christie by piling on with some bogus claim. This is the only hope the dems have of slowing down christie and they are pulling out all the stops.

  9. David said at 8:52 am on January 19th, 2014:

    If Christie has little or no control over the funds, then this issue is nonsensical. Does Christie really have the power to approve funds? It is my understanding that funds for the State of New Jersey have to be approved by the legislature.

    Regarding Hoboken, here is another issue. Why is Hoboken receiving Abbott funds when it is one of the wealthiest districts in the state? This is a complete outrage.

    And, why should Hoboken receive such massive funds for cleanup anyway? It is a very wealthy town now. The real estate on the waterfront in Hoboken is valued at billions. Hoboken has the capacity to raise the money to pay for these funds.

    It seems that Zimmer is trying to drag Guadagno into this so that if the Dems impeach Christie, they can go after her next.

  10. @David said at 9:18 am on January 19th, 2014:

    Well according to Christie, he did nothing wrong. The investigations have yet to start. Are you saying the investigative bodies will probably have something on Christie worthy of impeachment? Only time will tell. As for Guadagno, she has her own skeletons that will be emerging soon.

  11. Joe DiBella said at 10:27 am on January 19th, 2014:

    As a former Mayor, if what she says is true then rather than noting it in her journal, she had a responsibility to her citizens and her office to immediately go to the authorities. She did not such thing. In my estimation, this is plain and simple an orchestrated campaign to “pile on” and try and smear the Governor — and now in turn his most qualified and ethical Lt. Governor. The strategy is likely to tarnish them at the same time while hey have the lime light. There are so many questions with the legitimacy of her story it is laughable. Why come out now? Why did she wait? Why MSNBC and not the US Attorney? Why hold up the alleged flow of money to her ravaged town for so long? Plus, while she may appoint the planning board members she does not control them — or at last she better not. For her to suggest that they went to her as she controls things is a stretch. I hope that the administration comes out swiftly and directly with the data and I presume evidence to point to the help and support Hoboken received. Plus, I hope that her own community demands more of her — that is stop going to the media for attention and go to the authorities if you fee your community has been wronged. This whole new artificially created fiasco is a sad chapter as partisans so desperate to tarnish their opponents sink to new lows. This too shall pass and when the truth comes out I suspect Mayor Zimmer will be proven to have been an attention seeking partisan.

    Joe DiBella
    Former Mayor, Howell NJ 2005-2008
    [email protected]

  12. @Former Mayor DiBella said at 12:20 pm on January 19th, 2014:

    Hey Former Mayor DiBella,

    Doesn’t it smell a bit strange when former attorney general Sampson, who is the current Port Authority chairman–who by the way is implicated in Bridgegate based on e-mails– and a partner in one of the states most influential and prestigious law firm, has an interest in the development rights of a parcel of land in Hoboken? A parcel that wants to be developed by the Rockefellar Group–a building consortium that his legally guided by Samson’s law firm.

    You don’t see a problem or conflict here? You don’t think there needs to be some vetting here? And if–I emphasize If–our “ethical” Lt. Governor said what she said–that too doesn’t warrant further scrutiny?

    If you say “no,” please do not consider a run to a Freeholder position! It would just show any lack of moral compass on your part.

  13. Zimmer's Diary Entries said at 2:35 pm on January 19th, 2014:

    Does anyone think these are made up? Perhaps worthy of a further looking into maybe?


  14. Bill Wolfe said at 6:57 pm on January 19th, 2014:

    Why are your sources anonymous?

    Are any Senator Beck?

  15. Joe Wedick said at 8:17 pm on January 19th, 2014:

    I had hoped that the Gov’s office would have put the Lt. Gov out there for the Sunday news shows to refute Zimmer in no uncertain terms.
    Not a good move leaving the “no comment” to the cell phone question from the Bergen Record reporter out there to linger over a 3 day weekend. Just leads to people to begin wondering. If nothing is done soon, that wondering is going to turn into wandering – as in wandering away and just adds to the drip, drip process of defining the Gov in an unpopular light.
    People who would normally be counted on to stand up for this administration will be MIA in 72 hours – after the swearing-in and party.

  16. Joe Wedick said at 9:46 pm on January 19th, 2014:

    Now it’s being reported that Zimmer met with US Attorney this afternoon for a couple of hours.

  17. A Bill Wolfe said at 7:22 am on January 20th, 2014:

    Bill, why would Senator Beck be a source of anonymity regarding Lt. governor Guadagno? Beck is Guadagno’s biggest cheerleader—unless, Beck sees Guadagno’s ship slowly sinking, you will slowly see Beck push her away–or as they say: push her under the bus.

  18. Joe Wedick said at 8:14 am on January 20th, 2014:

    CNN – In remarks due Monday morning — at a volunteer event in Union Beach, New Jersey honoring the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service — Guadagno is expected to make the point that, “My job in the governor’s office is to oversee redevelopment and reinvestment in New Jersey,” the source said.

    In fact, a governor’s directive prevents Guadagno from working on the Sandy recovery efforts because she was personally affected by the superstorm — her home in Monmouth Beach was damaged by the storm, the source said. She was at the Hoboken grocery store in her role as an advocate for the state’s business community.

    “Kim can’t talk about Sandy,” the source said. “She can’t do it.”

    And Guadagno twice returned to Hoboken after that May visit — once spending more than two hours touring farmers’ markets with Zimmer — and the Hoboken mayor never brought up the May conversation or indicated that it had upset her, the source said.

    The lieutenant governor recalls having a conversation with Zimmer that day, but says she remembers Zimmer arguing that Sandy recovery aid and redevelopment were the same issue, according to the source close to Guadagno, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

    “Kim remembers in their conversation that she was talking about redevelopment and making investments in Hoboken. She remembers Zimmer pressing Kim for money for Sandy. Kim remembers saying you can’t tie the two together,” the source said. “And she remembers Zimmer continuing to press and showing her a map of the city and pressing for aid for Sandy.”

    Guadagno remembers it as a “friendly conversation,” the source said. “Zimmer was laser-focused on getting Hoboken money for Sandy recovery and that is not the role Kim Guadagno plays in the administration,” the source said.

    She remembers telling Zimmer that the administration would like to do more to redevelop Hoboken, but she doesn’t recall talking to her specifically about The Rockefeller Group project. But the source said Guadagno, a veteran prosecutor and former county sheriff, is still going through her records, preparing for a possible subpoena.

  19. @Joe Dibella and Joe Wedick said at 9:15 am on January 20th, 2014:

    Don’t let the impressive resume and that aww-shucks Midwestern accent of Kim Guadagno fool you.

    Former Mayor Joe Dibella is enamored and convinced by her “ethics.” I too would like to know more of her ethics if she would just be transparent and tell us about any interference on her administrations part in having an indictment thrown out against a sheriff of Hunterdon County. A fellow officer in the state Sheriff’s Association–and president at that–who utilized sheriff’s personnel in order to get the ticket of Christie and Guadagno elected.

    I would like to know more of the pension fraud case here in Monmouth County. I have seen it posted here numerous times–but she has failed to publicly address the issue. If my memory serves me correct, Art asked her about it, but she declined to discuss it.

    I would like to know more about the election irregularities that some are saying Guadagno gave an unfair advantage by placing a candidate unfairly in his placement on the ballot.

    Just so many questions and complaints regarding this woman’s ethics and integrity. I just wish they would be addressed to clear any confusion and muddling of the issues.

    Now we have her subpoenaed in the Zimmer case along with Bridgegate. When does it end?