Chris Christie’s deputy denies collusion with developer

Guadagno is accused of withholding Sandy aid to pressure Hoboken mayor into allowing project

N.J. Governor Christie and Lieutenant Governor Guadagno
N.J. Governor Christie and Lieutenant Governor Guadagno

New Jersey’s lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, denied she withheld hurricane aid to Hoboken, N.J., to pressure Mayor Dawn Zimmer to approve a commercial redevelopment by a firm connected to her boss at a press conference in the Garden State today.

Zimmer accused Guadagno, second in command to embattled Governor Chris Christie, and a top community development official of denying her the funds she needed to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy because she wouldn’t sign off on a three-acre project proposed by Manhattan-based developer the Rockefeller Group in Hoboken.

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The Rockefeller Group, an owner and developer that counts Rockefeller Center among its properties, owns three blocks of prime Hoboken property it is looking to develop, Fox News said. Guadagno supposedly suggested funds would “flow,” to Hoboken, if and when the Rockefeller project moved forward, in a May conversation with Zimmer. A Rockefeller spokesperson denied any knowledge of the alleged conversation between Zimmer and Guadagno to Fox News.

“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 said at a press conference today, Fox News reported. “Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false.”

The Rockefeller Group employed Governor Christie’s former cabinet officer Lori Grifa as a lobbyist, as well as his Port Authority Chairman appointee David Sampson as the group’s general counsel, Fox News said. Christie denies the allegations. [Fox News] — Angela Hunt