As a “Bridgegate” guilty plea is entered by former Port Authority executive David Wildstein, who concedes that lanes on the George Washington Bridge were in fact closed down in an act of political retribution, the story has a knock-on effect for the situation here in Hoboken. Mayor Dawn Zimmer has spoken out today to discuss the now officially established precedent of the Christie administration abusing its power for political sway.
Zimmer has accused Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno of threatening to withhold funds for Sandy relief unless favors were granted to the Christie administration.
A recent Wall Street Journal article reported the the Mayor’s claim appeared to “fizzle,” and that the investigation had gone quiet.
Below is Mayor Zimmer’s statement in full:
“The closing of the Fort Lee access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in an apparent act of political retaliation was an egregious abuse of power, and I am gratified that some of the individuals involved are being held accountable.
The U.S. Attorney has so far taken no action regarding the conversation the Lieutenant Governor had with me in which she linked Superstorm Sandy aid with redevelopment decisions in Hoboken that were important to a client of David Samson.
I stand behind my account which was corroborated by substantial additional evidence. In addition to my contemporaneous journal entry, I told six people about the conversation on the day it occurred, including a lawyer representing the City of Hoboken.
In our conversation, the Lieutenant Governor implied to me that she was speaking for the Governor who she said she was with that Friday night. I learned for the first time, months later, upon reading the report of the Governor’s own Counsel Randy Mastro, that the Lieutenant Governor and Governor were indeed together that Friday night at a retreat, as she had told me.
Finally, Melissa Orsen, the Lieutenant Governor’s Chief of Staff told the Mastro investigators that Luciano DiMaggio, the Lieutenant Governor’s Aide had reported to her the following about the immediate aftermath of my conversation with the Lieutenant Governor:
‘The Lieutenant Governor got back into the suburban and said she had to be firm and tell Mayor Zimmer to play ball.’
My responsibility is to cooperate with all legitimate investigations, tell the truth both to the public and to the U.S. Attorney, and to protect the best interests of the people of Hoboken. That is what I have done and what I will continue to do.
It is the U.S. Attorney’s responsibility to determine whether these facts, as well as whatever other information they obtained as a result of their investigation, constitute a criminal offense provable beyond a reasonable doubt.
I believe that they have taken this matter seriously and respect the judgment that they have made.”