|BLACKMAIL NOW IN CHRISTIE'S BAG OF TRICKS?|
Move over, Bridgegate. The Christie administration is now accused of using blackmail in Hoboken, telling Mayor Dawn Zimmer that she would not get Sandy aid for her town unless she approved a real estate project pushed by the Christie administration.
Zimmer, appearing on MSNBC this morning, said that Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Rich Constable each made the threat in person, explicitly linking Sandy aid for Hoboken, which was 80 percent under water after the storm, to her approval of a real estate project pushed by the Rockefeller Group, a New York firm represented by David Samson, a Christie intimate who is chairman of the Port Authority.
Is it true? Michael Drewniak, the governor's acerbic spokesman, scoffed at the idea. But then again, that's what Drewniak does. When he was first asked about Bridgegate, he called that accusation crazy. A spokesman for Constable denied it, but Constable himself assumed his usual position under the covers with no comment.
Zimmer says she's ready to take a lie detector test and challenged Guadagno and Constable to do the same. She showed TV-host Steve Kornacki diary entries expressing her shock and disappointment at the time, and multiple emails from Christie's crew pushing for approval of the project.
This one is beyond ugly. Because in the end, Zimmer did get shorted. Hoboken got $342,000, a pittance for a town that was 80 percent under water after the October 2012 storm. She had requested $127 million.
This is a credible charge. Zimmer is describing the same kind of thuggish behavior from the Christie administration that we saw during Bridgegate.
But this one cuts deeper. Leaving people stranded in horrid traffic for four days is bad enough. But denying aid to victims of Sandy as a means of leverage against an elected official is simply revolting. And surely illegal.
Time for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman to jump on this. And the Legislature should ramp up an investigation as well.
In the meantime, what about it, Ms. Guadagno? If you are telling the truth, why don't you belly up and take that lie detector test? And how about you, Mr. Constable?
Did governor Kripsy Kreme hold super-storm Sandy relief funds hostage? If so, this by far trumps the "Bridge Over River Hubris" scandal.
Like all things tea bagger, I am sure Darrell Issa, and Lindsey Graham will somehow be able to tie all this to Obama and Benghazi.