Brian Thompson, the WNBC 4-NY reporter who broke the story of potential indictments in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandals coming next month, told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki this morning that the likely federal charges will be related to a coordinated effort to cover up.
“This is what ties it all together as a single unified prosecution, ” Thompson said, “that is they are all involved in this, they all have a finger print or more, somewhere in this, which is, what our sources are saying, all wraps up into a conspiracy to cover up.”
Thompson said that the alleged cover up started “that week of the shut downs” not a month or two months later. Thompson reiterated that the cover up began on the same week that the lane closures occurred.
Thompson said that at least two of the principals have made a deal, are singing, or are trying to make a deal, with the U.S. Attorney.
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.
Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and DCA Commissioner Richard Constable fingered by Zimmer
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki this morning that Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable threatened to deprive Hoboken of Sandy Relief funds if she did not secure a development approval for for a project favored by Governor Chris Christie.
The Rockefeller Group project hasn’t been approved and Hoboken has only gotten a small fraction of the Sandy Relief it requested. Port Authority Chairman David Samson’s law firm, Wolf and Samson, represents the Rockefeller Group.
Zimmer requested $127 million in aide for Hoboken, 80% of which was underwater after the Superstorm hit in October of 2012. The city has received $142,000 for a back up generator and $200,000 in recovery grants.
The governor’s office has denied the claims. Spokesperson Michael Drewniak issued the following statement to MSNBC:
“Mayor Zimmer has been effusive in her public praise of the Governor’s Office and the assistance we’ve provided in terms of economic development and Sandy aid,” Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak wrote in a statement. “What or who is driving her only now to say such outlandishly false things is anyone’s guess.”