FOLLOW THE MONEY!
TABACCO: As a Political Analyst/Editorialist, it pays to sometimes wait before publishing based primarily on the Mainstream’s “Kneejerk Reaction”. I don’t mean wait until all the facts are in; I mean wait until you can be sure you are moving in the right direction when assessing the CORRECT MOTIVES!
If it makes sense, you are probably correct; if the motive is somewhat dubious, you are probably “barking up the wrong tree” far enough from the Truth that many won’t believe the Ultimate Truth you are presenting!
Anyone, who has heard anything about this story, should smell a ‘Rat’, named Christie as the Basis of these Political Retributions. However, the MSM’s Kneejerk Reaction blames it on a peeved Governor Christie, who failed to obtain the endorsement of the Democratic Hoboken Mayor for his recent successful gubernatorial reelection run last year – WRONG!
The real Truth is a lot more complicated, but it makes a helluvalot more sense than mere pique! My Sources do not accuse Chris Christie of profiting from these Acts – but I do. Even if I’m wrong about Christie profiting financially, which I seriously doubt, to stomp on the citizens of Hoboken, ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, and deny them Recovery Funds earmarked for Hoboken as the lynchpin in a Blackmail scheme is unconscionable as well as Illegal even without the profit motive.
When Deep Throat said “Follow the Money” re Nixon’s Watergate Scandal, he was absolutely correct. He was correct then; he is correct now, and he’d be correct tomorrow:
I recorded the Steve Kornacki show on Jan. 18, 2014. But the MSNBC transcripts for his show only included up to Jan. 4, 2014. I am patient when it comes to finding just the right slant on a story, but when I’ve got the story and can’t publish it right now, it drives me crazy. Perhaps that is why I love Democracy Now! and Moyers & Company because they post their show transcripts on the Internet almost immediately. So I have to twiddle my thumbs from 10-14 days now just waiting!
WANTS TO ‘READ
THE FINE PRINT!
Tabacco: I have edited the Transcript to reflect only the rhetoric relating to Chris Christie’s BridgeGate Affair. To read the entire Transcript, go to the URL above!
updated 1/22/2014 10:49:23 AM ET
UP with STEVE KORNACKI
January 18, 2014
GuestS: Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Rep. Frank Pallone, Michael Aron, Brian Murphy, Josh Barro, Paul Butler, Brian Wice, Burt Ross
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: What if it wasn`t about endorsements at all.
KORNACKI: We, at this show, have been reporting as furiously as we can this week. And this morning, we can bring you new exclusive and startling information about top officials in Chris Christie`s administration. A story that appear to link the Christie administration to an effort to use hurricane Sandy relief funds to force a city to expedite a project, a project which also happens to directly involve the law firm of the Port Authority chairman.
That`s a lot to absorb and we`re going to take you through all of it in
just a minute. We`re going to hear directly from the mayor who says she was on the receiving end of this pressure campaign. She`s been refusing media request all week, but she is here this morning to tell her story and it`s a story you have not seen anywhere else in the press before right now. There`s a lot to this. There are a lot of documents, there are a lot of names, a lot of highly technical terms, a lot of complicated but necessary context.
So, please, I`m going to ask you, bear with us. We`re going to take our time here. We`re going to do our best to give you the clearest and the most accurate picture of what we know. And the best place to start this story then is probably five years ago. It was a famous day in the history of New Jersey politics, the day you may even remember, if you don`t live in New Jersey, if you`ll follow politics New Jersey that much, because but it`s the day that in many ways made Chris Christie governor.
It`s July 23rd, 2009, a Thursday that began like any normal Thursday in most of America but not in the Garden State where federal agents spread out at the crack of dawn (ph), round up dozens of politicians snared in one of the most massive sting operations in history. It`s a drag that years in the making, but the trap wasn`t that elaborate.
The fed simply recruited a crafty, crooked, and failed real estate
operator, a man named Solomon Dwek (ph) who`d been arrested for bank fraud a few years earlier for trying to pass $50 million in bad checks. To save his own hide, that man then cooperated with the feds and he went undercover and traveled from town to town in New Jersey to meet with political leaders and their handlers with a simple offer, here`s a pile of cash, take it, it`s yours. Promise me in return that I will get the permits and approvals that I need to develop in your town.
That was the deal he offered, and there were a lot of politicians and
political players who took that cash and who made that promise. And then they found themselves on July 23rd, 2009, in handcuffs. And one of them was this man, Peter J. Cammarano. He`d gone to sleep the night before, a rising political star, 32 years old, the newly elected mayor of Hoboken. It`s vibrant, densely populated melting pot city in the banks of the Hudson River.
It`s a place where young artists and commuting professionals live along the descendants of the city`s ethnic blue collar heyday. You`ll find stockbrokers and Damon Runyon characters sharing the same block. That`s Hoboken. It`s a fun place to live. It`s one of the most coveted areas for developers. There`s priceless views of Manhattan. There`s easy access to the city. If you get to build in Hoboken, you can make a lot of money.
So, that`s the city that Peter Cammarano had been elected to lead in June 2009. He was young, he was charismatic, he was a talented speaker. Actually, it turned out I`d gone to college with him, but I didn`t know it at the time as much as one of those things, I guess. And as soon as he won that election, people were talking up Pete Cammarano as a future star. He was going to run for governor someday, someday soon.
Almost everyone in New Jersey in politics seem to agree on that. But he didn`t even last a month. Peter Cammarano was arrested on July 23rd, 2009. That undercover fake developer working for the feds had met with Cammarano at a diner while he was running for mayor and he`d offered $25,000 in illegal campaign contributions. The condition, Dwek, the fake developer, said he had big plans to build in Hoboken.
And as mayor, he wanted Cammarano to, quote, “make you would get my stuff expedited.” “I promise you”, was Cammarano`s reply, “you`re going to be treated like a friend.” One week later, Peter Cammarano resigned as the mayor of Hoboken. One year later, he was sentenced to two years in prison for extortion and conspiracy, for taking that bribe.
And his was only one of many stories like that. One of many political
figures taking down out of the blue on July 23rd, 2009. Operation Bid Rig. That was the name given to this roundup, and politically, it did two things. The first is that it made Chris Christie look like a hero. Remember, in 2009, he was first running for governor.
This was the height of that campaign. He was running against the incumbent Democrat, John Corzine, in a very blue state and the polls were close. But Christie had been, until a few months earlier, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey. Operation Bid Rig had started on his watch, this was his team. These were his people arresting all those crooked politicians. This was his operation, a Chris Christie operation in the most dramatic, vivid way possible.
It reinforced everything that Christie wanted voters to know about him. Operation Bid Rig also meant that the city of Hoboken got a new mayor, her name, Dawn Zimmer. She`d run against Cammarano and had lost in a squeaker then she became the president of the city council and being in that job, it made her next in line to become the mayor when Cammarano got caught. So, she became the interim mayor.
And then in November of 2009, on the same day that Christie defeated Corzine and became governor, Dawn Zimmer won a full term as the mayor of Hoboken. And here`s the thing, Dawn Zimmer is a Democrat and Hoboken is a very Democratic town, but Dawn Zimmer was a fan of Chris Christie.
She said that she`d like that he`d clean up her town, help to clean up her town by exposing Cammarano`s corruption, by taking a mayor who was ready to sell off Hoboken for $25,000, and throwing him behind bars. She believes in clean government and so did he. She also said that she believes in a lot of his reform agenda, even parts that made other Democrats uncomfortable.
When Christie called for a local property tax cap, Mayor Zimmer endorsed the plan. She hosted him in Hoboken for his first town hall meeting. She publicly campaigned for his ideas. Christie liked and Christie still likes to talk about reaching across the aisle and his relationship with Hoboken`s mayor, Dawn Zimmer, fit to a tee, the image the governor has so eagerly cultivated.
At least that`s how it used to be, because that story turned. And if
you`ve been following the news this week, you know this, there`ve been all sorts of stories about how Hoboken was ravaged by hurricane Sandy.
You remember the pictures of narrow streets flooded with filthy, unsanitary water, of military tanks, of millions of gallons of water gushing into the path commuter rail station, a key hub that connects tens of thousands of commuters from all over North Jersey to New York City every single day.
Hoboken is one of the most densely populated cities in America. It`s just one square mile. It lies mostly below sea level. It was supremely
vulnerable to a storm like Sandy.
And it`s still supremely vulnerable to a storm like Sandy because even though Hoboken was ravaged by Sandy and even though Mayor Zimmer`s team is consulted with global experts and devised a comprehensive plan to protect the city in the future, less than one percent of that giant pool of relief and recovery money that Christie sits on has gone to the city.
Tabacco: This is why I’m glad I waited! That “non-endorsement of Christie rationale” was unconvincing because Christie is both a politician and a capitalist, not an overemotional spurned suitor!
Dawn Zimmer says that why she landed (ph) on Christie`s bad side, why Hoboken hasn`t gotten that Sandy money, she says the real reason, the real reason she`s here today to tell us about goes back to that same one word that was at the heart of that famous day in 2009 that helped make Chris Christie governor, that day that sent Pete Cammarano away, that day that lifted Dawn Zimmer to the position of Mayor of Hoboken.
That one word that is more often than any other word at the heart of any political corruption story that emanates from the Garden State,
development. This is the north end of Hoboken. It`s sort of the frontier of the city, one of the last remaining pockets that really hasn`t been touched by redevelopment which made it a very attractive location for a major developer, the Rockefeller Group.
So, if that spot was cleared for redevelopment, the Rockefeller Group would have a much freer hand to build whatever they wanted while asking potentially for millions in subsidies. But all of this happened before Dawn Zimmer became mayor. After she won her full term as mayor, she didn`t think the city needed that redevelopment right away. The crash of 2008 was still exacting a brutal toll.
Hoboken`s finances were a mess. The city was being monitored by state officials. The mayor said she told Rockefeller she wasn`t against the idea of them building in Hoboken, but they`d have to follow the same process as everybody else and that process couldn`t start until the city had enough money to pay professionals, planners, and engineers to study the issue.
This created some tension. The Rockefeller Group talked in the press about how it was, quote, “putting the finishing touches on plans to construct a skyline altering project in Hoboken`s north end and has Zimmer`s predecessors as mayor had been moving the process along”. Zimmer said she was blindsided.
Tabacco: Whether we’re talking about National Politics (Bush lying to the People to force War For Profit In Iraq), about Wyandanch (10,500 populated, predominantly Black hamlet on Long Island),
or in States like New Jersey, Political Corruption is basically the same wherever you go in America!
She wrote to the author of that story, quote, “I want to make it very
clear. There had been no negotiations with the Rockefeller Group regarding their project by my administration. There will be no negotiations until a study has been completed in a public process, including all stakeholders has been completed in order to determine what kind of development our city would like to have in that area.”
That`s what she wrote to the reporter of that story. So, they`re at an
impasse. The Rockefeller Group had big plans for this hugely valuable land that was sitting on, But Mayor Zimmer wasn`t aggressively moving forward on it. And that`s when the Christie administration comes in, and specifically, this woman. Her name is Lori Grifa. In 2010, she was Chris Christie`s commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.
That means she was in Chris Christie`s cabinet. Zimmer says that Grifa came to Hoboken that June. The north end project came up, and she told Zimmer that the administration might be able to help track down a source to pay for the study. And soon enough, the Christie administration connected Mayor Zimmer to the Port Authority.
That`s the same Port Authority that operates the George Washington Bridge. The same Port Authority that, on the New Hersey side, is littered with political appointees of Chris Christie. And it`s the same Port Authority that on December 28, 2010, came through with this. It`s a letter to Zimmer approving the — of her request from that fall for the port to pay for the study. Grant was for up to $75,000.
And for Zimmer, it seemed like the perfect solution. She was not against developing the land. She just wanted a real professional study, and now, she had the money to pay for one. And there was a string attached. There was a condition. The Port Authority would get to pick the firm that did the study, but the firm they chose in February 2011 had a solid reputation.
You can see that here. This is the letter from the Port Authority
designating Clarke Caton Hintz to do the re-development study. So, nothing seem to miss and the study began. And it took a long time. It took 2011. It took through 2012. Hurricane Sandy slowed things down, then finally, in January 2013, the draft of the report came back, and well, Zimmer says it baffled her and her team.
The firm was to evaluate a 19-block area in the north end to see what was eligible for that designation of redevelopment and all of the goodies that come with it. The report did conclude that some of that neighborhood fit the criteria, but worthy to note, the only blocks that it recommended for redevelopment were the three blocks where the Rockefeller Group owned property.
Tabacco: When and If – and Only When & If – Governor Christie can satisfactorily explain that anomaly to our complete satisfaction, do we believe Christie and his mouthpiece, Lori Grifa, and not believe Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken! But of course that will never happen!
So long as “ChristieGate” or BridgeGate continues, we must NEVER stop demanding to know why
See, deciphering Political Corruption is Easy when you know what to look for!
What’s So Special? Looks Like Just Another Dump To Me! But then again, somebody forked over $100,000.00 for a George Zimmerman painting!
It’s hard enough being an Honest Politician; being a Crooked Politico is tougher than ever these days because of Independent News Sources – but you have to hunt for them assiduously!
They all pretty much look alike. If you`re a layman like me and you`re
walking around there like I did earlier this week, it`s hard to see why just those three blocks could be singled out like this. Zimmer`s team was not alone in wondering about that. The landowners for the other 16 blocks in the north end hired a lawyer who called the study, quote, “curious, disturbing, and suspect to say the least.”
But the Rockefeller Group had a powerful advocate, a law firm called Wolff and Samson. It`s probably the most powerful politically connected law firm in all of New Jersey. It`s heavily involved in the developments deals and it`s known for its close and its intimate ties to the Christie administration. The Samson in Wolff and Samson, Samson is David Samson. He`s the chairman of the Port Authority.
The Plot thickens!
He`s the former attorney general of New Jersey. He`s Chris Christie`s
appointee at the Port Authority who`s coming under increasing scrutiny in the Bridgegate scandal. You can see here that David Samson`s law firm represents the Rockefeller Group. And, you can see here that one of the Wolf and Samson attorneys who lobby on behalf of the Rockefeller group is Lori Grifa. This is the page she signed in a previous quarter`s filing (ph).
But Lori Grifa left the Christie administration in 2011 and she went to
work at Wolff and Samson. And by the time that redevelopment study came back, she was hard at work doing the bidding of the Rockefeller Group. Here she is in early 2012. This is as the study is still going on, e-mailing a man named Joe Marazati. He is a lawyer hired by Hoboken to serve as its council on development issues.
Lori Grifa is e-mailing him in early 2012 to tell him, quote, “Our client,
the Rockefeller Group, has specifically asked us to speak with you
regarding its property in Hoboken.” So, look what happens. The
redevelopment draft report finally comes back on January 16th of last year. We`re into 2013 now. It says that the whole 19-block area is eligible to be declared an area in need of rehabilitation.
That`s a much weaker designation from the standpoint of a developer and that only three blocks in that area, the three blocks with Rockefeller properties on them are eligible for the much more powerful redevelopment designation. Now, the city has some concerns. The next step is the planning board. How will they choose to handle the report and designate the area?
The Rockefeller Group obviously would like to get this to the planning
board and then the city council fast so that it can get building. So,
Wolff and Samson turns up the heat. Here`s an e-mail from the morning of April 5th, 2013, from that same redevelopment attorney for the city of Hoboken, Joe Marazati, writing to a woman named Brandy Forbes. She serves under Mayor Zimmer as Hoboken`s community development director.
“I am getting the full court press on this,” Marazati writes to her. “I have a voicemail from last night from Lori asking that I join a call this a.m. with Lori and Dave Samson, chair of the PA,” the Port Authority, “or suggest another time.”
And here`s an e-mail from that same day from Lori Grifa, herself, to
Marazati under the subject, “Hoboken/Rockefeller”. “Joe”, she writes,
“I`ve been trying to set up a telecom with Dave Samson. Have left messages at your office.” Marazati writes and asked for an agenda. What do they want to talk about specifically?
On April 19th, Grifa writes back again, again the subject is
“Hoboken/Rockefeller Group”. She said she assumes the study is going to be adopted by the planning board and wants to talk about moving the project forward after that. Copied on that e-mail from Grifa to Hoboken`s redevelopment attorney is David Samson. You can see his names right there.
Mazarati writes back that it would be, quote, “premature to discuss
anything until and unless the planning board accepts the redevelopment study at its next scheduled meeting. Its next scheduled meeting being on May 8th meeting comes, the Hoboken planning board votes 4-3 that there is, quote, “insufficient evidence to designate those three blocks in area for
Instead, the board declares the entire 19-block north end, quote, “an area in need of rehabilitation“. Now, that doesn`t mean that it`s impossible for the Rockefeller group to get what it wants. It`s just another signal that Zimmer`s team isn`t going to roll over for them. That`s what passes the planning board on May 8th.
And now, here`s what this all has been building toward where Chris
Christie, himself, comes in, because here`s the other thing that was
happening while the Wolff and Samson crew, while David Samson`s crew was pushing for the Rockefeller project in Hoboken. As all of that was playing out early last year, Mayor Zimmer was applying for funding from what is called the hazard mitigation grant program.
It`s a huge vault of money overseen by Christie to help communities hit hard by Sandy to prepare themselves for the next storm. And remember, right after Sandy hit in Hoboken`s darkest hour, Christi came to town and pledged and promised residents they could count on him.
KORNACKI: So, it was in the wake of that visit from the governor that
Hoboken officials submitted seven letters of intent, asking for around $100 million in funds from programs the state was now running. The city was asking for storm surge coastal protection, money to buy properties to be used as open space, money for backup generators, these sorts of things. Remember, this is a city that was 80 percent under water during Sandy.
There`s also a vital economic and transportation hub in North Jersey.
Mayor Zimmer was applying for this money, this federal money, that Christie controlled as the Rockefeller issue was coming to a head, as Wolff and Samson, the law firm of the chairman of the Port Authority was cranking up the heat. And she seemed to be getting nowhere.
“Please governor”, Zimmer wrote in the letter when these decisions came down, “We need your help. I have tried to assure Hoboken residents that we would be treated fairly because you have always treated Hoboken fairly in the past.”
Zimmer says there was no response to that letter, but note the date, May 8th of last year. That was the same day the Hoboken planning board did not adopt the redevelopment recommendation for the Rockefeller property. And then, the lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, wanted to come to town to do an event at a Shoprite, to promote how businesses had been covered (ph) from the storm.
So, they set that up. And on May 15th, there they were. Kim Guadagno, the lieutenant governor of New Jersey, and Dawn Zimmer, the mayor of Hoboken, at the Hoboken shopRite. You can see them in the picture there. And Zimmer has told us that Guadagno pulled her aside during that visit and delivered a message to her. If you want that Sandy money, you need to get that Rockefeller project moving because it`s very important to the governor.
That`s what Dawn Zimmer, the mayor of Hoboken, told us that Kim Guadagno told her that day. And she`s not just saying it to us now, because she says when it happened, she was so shocked that she wrote it down in her personal diary, which she has shared with us. And here is how she describes the threat Guadagno made in an entry.
In that diary dated May 17th, quoting from it,
This is what the mayor of Hoboken says Chris Christie`s lieutenant governor told her that day. Zimmer`s diary entry goes on to add that Guadagno told her, quote,
Zimmer tells a second story in that May 17th entry. It`s about an
accounting that had taken place the night before on May 16th of last year with a man named Richard Constable. He had replaced Lori Grifa as Christie`s commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. He`s in Christie`s cabinet, and they were sitting on stage together for a public television special on Sandy recovery.
It`s a bunch of leaders from New Jersey onstage at Monmouth University. You can see them right there. You can see Dawn Zimmer sitting next to Constable and this is what Zimmer writes happened.
From her diary,
Zimmer`s words, her handwritten words, convey a starkly human reaction to all of this. She writes,
And there`s this,
TABACCO: This is as close as anyone dare come to the obvious without absolute proof – anyone except Tabacco, of course. Promises made between Politicians and Corporatists are POLITICAL CORRUPTION, pure & simple. We’re talking ‘Tit-for-Tat’ here, not even Lobbying, which the Supreme Court, in its own particular Corruption, has made Legalized Bribery!
No Politician, with a functioning brain, ever makes ‘Backroom Deals’ with Corporatists solely to benefit those Corporatists – that Politician always gets something in return or else the Deal does NOT MAKE SENSE! No Euphemistic Rhetoric can change it to anything else but POLITICAL CORRUPTION!
That`s what Dawn Zimmer says Chris Christie`s lieutenant governor told her about the Rockefeller plan.
Now, think back to the very beginning in the segment, to that massive
corruption takedown in 2009 that snared the last mayor of Hoboken. “Make sure you expedite my stuff” is what the undercover developer had told Pete Cammarano in exchange for that illegal campaign cash. When Pete Cammarano said yes to that in 2009 and when a bunch of other New Jersey politicians did too, it helped make Chris Christie governor.
And now, we have the mayor of Hoboken saying and providing months old diary entries that say that high ranking members of Chris Christie`s administration told her you have to move it forward. You have to move that Rockefeller development project forward. You have to expedite it if you want to get your Sandy money. That was last May. Now, here we are in January 2014, the Rockefeller Project still isn`t moving forward.
Hoboken still doesn`t have the Sandy money it desperately needs. But now, Dawn Zimmer is speaking out in a story she`s told us and the documents we`ve obtained offered disturbing portrait of how and why Chris Christie`s administration exercises his power. It was his administration that put Hoboken in touch with the Port Authority to get the money from that redevelopment study that the Rockefeller group wanted.
It`s the Port Authority that is now chaired by David Samson, whose law firm represents the Rockefeller Group. And according to the mayor of Hoboken, it`s the Christie administration that is trying to use Sandy funds as a lever to compel her to give the Rockefeller Group what it wants, to give David Samson`s firm what it wants.
Does this bring us any closer to knowing why Christie`s team at the Port Authority shut down all those bridge lanes? Well, it might, because if what Dawn Zimmer says is true, it shows how the Christie administration and the New Jersey side of the Port Authority can team up to serve each other`s political and financial interests, even if it means denying Sandy funds to a city that desperately needs them, in order to help out a developer.
We have contacted all of the parties involved here. We will have their
responses and the mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, is going to join us live at this table right after this.
KORNACKI: All right. We`re back and here with me now is the mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, who just spent a lot of time explaining what she says has been happening to her city and that according to the mayor, top officials in the Chris Christie administration have told her that her city will only receive critical Sandy relief funds if she expedites a redevelopment project in North Hoboken.
It`s her conversations — excuse me — that she says took place in May
2013. And Mayor Zimmer did not then and has not since given her approval for the project. Hoboken still has yet to receive any of the more than $100 million the city has asked for, anything more than the $342,000 it`s gotten at least that`s enough for one generator and one study. Again, this is out of more than $100 million requested.
We have invited all of the government officials involved in our previous segment, who we mentioned on to the program this morning. They have declined, but there are responses that they have sent us. We`re going to show those right now.
TABACCO: Politicians, who do NOT show up for Q&A, but instead send written statements, do NOT want to face INTERROGATION! You don’t need Tabacco to explain why!
And when that Politician allows a ‘Spokesperson’ to write the Disclaimer, that Politician is making doubly sure that he or she has “PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY” when the Turds Hit The Fan! You won’t get them on Videotape lying to you and repeated ad nauseam – no, instead you get their ‘Spokesperson’, who can say, “I wrote what the Governor instructed me to write. And of course if that day comes, the Governor can always say, “My spokesperson got it wrong!”
This is from Governor Christie`s spokesperson, Michael Drewniak, speaking on behalf of both the governor and lieutenant governor, quote,
“Mayor Zimmer has been effusive in her public praise of the governor`s office and the assistance we provided in terms of economic development in Sandy aide. What or who is driving her only now to say such outlandishly false things is anyone`s guess.”
Tabacco: How about anyone guessing ‘THE TRUTH’! It wouldn’t be the first time someone misjudged someone else in a positive vein, who later learned that assessment was totally wrong. Tabacco has made that misassessment – more than once. Above most people, Politicians are particularly adept at deceiving the Public re their own character and intentions!
And here`s now a response from the commissioner of the Department — the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Richard Constable. “You say that when the two of you shared stage at a televised event in May of 2013, just before that event started, he told you — sorry. Here it is. I — I`m sorry. This is the statement from Constable. “I doubt that Mayor Zimmer would say such a thing because that statement is categorically false.” That is what Richard Constable told us.
TABACCO: Your doubts, Richard Constable, are totally without merit; I’ve got her making that statement on Video! Your saying it is “categorically false” does NOT MAKE IT SO! All Crooks lie and claim innocence! You must do better than that to convince the Public! Have you seen the latest Christie Polls, sir?
And the governor`s office also told us they were particularly surprised to hear from Mayor Zimmer`s charges given the positive things she has said about the governor after the conversation she has described that allegedly took place.
Tabacco: Zimmer could never risk such a “Lie” because she would have no way of knowing whether or not that conversation was being recorded, whereas Christie’s Henchmen, who approached Zimmer without forewarning, could be certain she was not mic’d.
The mayor tweeted in August of last year, for instance, when the governor was running for reelection that, “To be clear, I am very glad Governor Christie has been our governor. I am not endorsing because of (INAUDIBLE) nonpartisan mayoral race.” And another one from the same day, “He has done a great job for NJ and Hoboken. We have a nonpartisan mayoral election on November 5th.”
So, Mayor Zimmer, thank you for joining us. There is so much to get into here. I guess, I`ll just start with the basic response from the Christie administration that they`re giving, you know, she says in these diary entries.
She`s told, you know, Steve`s show that her Sandy relief was tied directly to this Rockefeller Project and if she`s so outraged by this in early 2013 and yet here she is, in the middle of 2013, tweeting favorable things about, you know, Christie`s been good for New Jersey, good for Hoboken. How can you believe her if she`s saying those nice things then and this terrible thing happened before?
TABACCO: Because the Governor controls Hoboken’s Purse Strings, and she dared not offend him publicly until ALL roads were closed! That’s “how you can believe her” now!
But you put the Prosecution on Trial (clever sophistry) – it’s not whether we can trust Zimmer; it’s whether we can trust Christie – and we cannot!
I mean, the bottom line is, it`s not fair for the governor to hold Sandy
funds hostage for the city of Hoboken because he wants me to give back to one private developer. And it`s important that — I know it`s very complicated for the public to really understand all of this. But I have a legal obligation to follow the law, to bring balanced development to Hoboken. We have – we`re one square mile.
And we`re the fourth largest densely populated city in the country, so we have to look very careful — carefully at these things. The Rockefeller group, they own four acres. There`s another property owner that owns nine acres. So, I cannot give a windfall to one property owner because the governor wants me to, in exchange for the Sandy funds. So, I`ll tell you, I feel like I`m literally between a rock and a hard place.
KORNACKI: So, what about the question of timing. I think another
skeptical question that might be asked here is, again, this happened — the draft report came back in January but the threats came in May of 2013 or now in January of 2014. Why come forward now and not before now?
ZIMMER: Well, I probably should have come forward then. This is probably the hardest thing that I`ve ever done. So, I probably should have come forward, but I literally feel like we — I have to act in the best interest of Hoboken and we are still at risk of not getting — there`s another — funding coming through and we`re not going to get it, unless, I move forward with the Rockefeller plan which they`re asking for one and a half to two million square feet.
They`re asking us for — for us to focus just on their area, not on the rest of the plan. And, so, you know, my choices are — let me just walk you through my choices. My choices are to like, you know, keep saying, listen I got to bring balanced development. I got to follow law. Well, we`re at risk of not getting Sandy funding. We`ve really virtually gotten no Sandy funding.
TABACCO: See what happens, folks, when STATES’ RIGHTS prevail! And NJ is NOT in the ‘Deep South’ – New Jersey is in the Northeast!
So, we`re at risk of not getting any more Sandy funding. You know, we got 300,000 or if I play along and try to, you know, get the plan — not that that would necessarily be possible and ethically I couldn`t do it but say I could play along, well, it`s going to be — you know, so that would actually mean I`m giving a windfall to one private property owner that the governor wants me to do that.
And, then, you know who`s going to be on line? It`s going to be the city of Hoboken. It`s going to be Dawn Zimmer who`s going to be on the line. We will be completely exposed. We will be having to — in a court case immediately, immediately will be — and I will have to testify. Am I going to stand on the stand and lie? I can`t. I know what`s going on here. I know that I received a direct message. I know that the Christie administration is connecting the Sandy funds to this Rockefeller project.
KORNACKI: And why? Have they given you any indication why Rockefeller matters so much to them?
TABACCO: Of course not! But Kornacki must ask the question even though he already knows the answer.
Zimmer must protect herself here. She knows as well as I do! but without proof, she cannot present an informed conclusion as a statement of fact. That’s why I love blogging – Tabacco can do it!
ZIMMER: I don`t — to be honest, I still don`t understand. I just know
that there`s this — I know that there`s been pressure all along. I don`t
quite understand like why he would do this. I mean — but I know — what I do know is that lieutenant governor, she came, you don`t forget when the lieutenant governor of the state of New Jersey pull you aside in a parking lot and says “I know it`s not right. “I know these things should not be connected, but they are and if you tell anyone, I`ll deny it,” you remember it.
KORNACKI: You know what, I`m just curious — in that moment, what do you say? What did you say back to her? What would you say back to Constable?
ZIMMER: Well, I mean, what I said back at the time was, “is anyone else being required?” “Is any other town being required to do development in exchange for help of the flooding?” And her answer was, “well, the shore brings in $38 billion in revenue.” I mean, just to be clear, I mean, I do support — I do want to bring, you know, commercial development to Hoboken, but we have to be very careful with how we do it in part because we have transportation issues.
We want to address our flooding issues, but we also have major
transportation challenges. The north end of Hoboken, there`s only two small bridges into our city and it`s already backed up. And the residents are already concerned about the level of development. So, if I was to give the Rockefeller Group the two million square feet that they want, what am I going to give, you know, the other property owners, the other property owner that owns nine million square feet?
I mean, right now, we have a plan with New Jersey Transit where we`re proposing two million square feet at the south end of Hoboken. That`s where it makes more sense.
KORNACKI: And that`s amazing. People — you know, I used to live in Hoboken for a few years and if people aren`t familiar with the city, we say densely packed, densely populated. See, this is a one square mile city with 50,000 people where, you know, space is really at a premium in the city.
I want to take a quick break here. We`re going to come back with the mayor and we`re going to talk a little bit more about what exactly not having the Sandy you`ve request has meant (Ph) and what avenues you have right now to actually get the money your city needs, because if there`s no other Sandy tomorrow, Hoboken is just as exposed as it was before. So, we`re going to talk about that right after this.
KORNACKI: I just want to get one other statement in here before we
continue with the mayor. This is from the Rockefeller Group. And again, nothing in our reporting suggests that the Rockefeller Group, itself, is doing anything wrong here, but they`re caught up in the story.
TABACCO: Kornacki must protect his own behind too!
The statement from them was that,
“We have no knowledge of any information pertaining to this investigation. If it turns out to be true, it would be deplorable.” -
That`s from the Rockefeller Group.
TABACCO: Hey, folks, remember Claude Rains’ famous line in ‘Casablanca, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”
Mayor Zimmer, I want to continue with you. First of all, we showed some of your journal entries. You actually — you brought your journal with you today just to show people this is not — you didn`t just scribble a few pages together and we can say, oh, this is from last May. I mean, this is — you can show it, maybe hold it up there. This is a real actual journal, you know, and you`ve shown it to us off the air that you keep.
ZIMMER: Right. I mean, you know, the bottom line is the facts are this. I mean, the lieutenant governor came to Hoboken and she said to me, her words were, “If you tell anyone, I`ll deny it.” Well, of course, they`re denying it. And you know, and the bottom line is she said, you know, basically, it`s connected. The Sandy funding, it`s being held hostage for the city of Hoboken. It`s connected to the Rockefeller Group project.
She said that very clearly. And she said, you know, if you don`t move
ahead, we`re not going to be able to help you. Well, we`ve barely gotten any money. I wrote in my journal at the time because I was totally — I mean, was so upset. I couldn`t believe what she was saying to me. And this journal entry, I mean, you know, I talk about my father, my father passed away the month before so it starts with me talking about my father.
I talk about everything with Governor Christie and what`s happened here, and then it ends with me talking about my husband and how much I love him. I mean, so — you know, I`d be more than willing to testify under oath and answer any questions and provide any documents, take a lie detector test. You know, my question back to them is, “Would all of you? Would all of you be willing to do that same thing, to testify under oath, to take a lie detector test?
KORNACKI: And another piece of this, too, is I think people watching the show nationally now, because this is becoming national scandal. They look at Christie is in trouble. This is the Democratic mayor of Hoboken. Of course, the Democratic mayor is going to, you know, say something critical about Christie.
TABACCO: She didn’t say bad things initially. Formerly, she heaped praise upon the Governor!
Democrat versus Republican, but I think the key point here, maybe you can speak to this is your relationship with Chris Christie politically was very much, you know, he talks about building bridges to the other party. You were very much representative of that for you first few years as mayor. This was a real partnership.
ZIMMER: Yes! I mean, I think he`s done great things for the state of New Jersey. I was, I think, the first Democrat to stand behind him on the two percent tax cut and I think it`s done a lot. You know, it`s done a lot for Hoboken. It`s done a lot for the state. Health care reform, arbitration reform. Arbitration reform definitely helped Hoboken in our negotiations with the unions.
It`s made a difference. And his administration helped us tremendously with saving our hospital, Hoboken Medical Center. It was going bankrupt and the governor was there for us. So, believe me, that`s part of the reason that this is a very difficult choice to come forward. The reality is for me that, you know, he got more votes than I did in Hoboken and I would say most of my supporters support Governor Christie.
TABACCO: See, folks! It’s hard enough trying to trust Democrats – but why would anyone ever trust a Republican Politician!
So, my supporters are going to be — they`re going to be stunned and I understand that. But I hope they`ll understand that I have no choice. We have to make sure that we get some of this Sandy funding. We are totally exposed and we need some of these funding. And with the Rockefeller Group, what they want me to do, what the governor is pressuring me to do, I can`t do that. I have no choice but to come forward and share what`s happening.
KORNACKI: So, do you hope, A, that by coming forward, there can be — because there`s this second pot of money that Christie now got from — grant money community development, block grant money, are you hoping that by coming forward, the administration might in a way be shamed into giving you some of that or is there any other avenue you`re looking at to get the money to prepare Hoboken for another storm?
ZIMMER: We`ve been working very hard, and that was actually part of our application. We have a comprehensive plan to protect Hoboken. We`ve been hard — part of the Secretary Don — HUD Secretary Donovan. We build by design competition and we`ve now got an international team including a couple of Dutch firms working with us to create a comprehensive plan that could truly protect the entire city.
It will benefit New Jersey transit. It will benefit the Port Authority, when you look at that image of the water rushing down into the elevator. Our plan would help to protect them. Our plan would help to protect all Hoboken residence, all Hoboken businesses. Our hospital that was severely flooded, North Hudson sewage authority, our substation. I mean, the benefit would be tremendous.
So, part of what I`m hoping comes out of this by coming forward is to say, governor, please, support this rebuild by design competition. Come forward. Fully support us. Give it your very direct endorsement and understand, governor, that we have to make — when we`re making our development decisions, we have some real challenges and we have to do it in a very balanced way.
We have to be fair to all of the property owners. We have to look, not
only, at the flooding issues, but we have to look at the transportation
challenges. And I cannot give a windfall to one private property owner because the governor and other people want me to do that. I cannot do it.
KORNACKI: All right. Hoboken mayor, Dawn Zimmer, it is extraordinary story you`ve brought to us today. I do not think we`re going to hear the last of it. I think we`re going to hear a lot about this going forward. I thank you for sharing your story with us today. Appreciate it.
Up next, the federal side of this, New Jersey congressman who`s been raising questions about how Chris Christie has been using Sandy money. We`re going to talk to him about that and about what he and all of you just heard. Stay with us.
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Tabacco: I consider myself both a funnel and a filter. I funnel information, not readily available on the Mass Media, which is ignored and/or suppressed. I filter out the irrelevancies and trivialities to save both the time and effort of my Readers and bring consternation to the enemies of Truth & Fairness! When you read Tabacco, if you don’t learn something NEW, I’ve wasted your time.
Tabacco is not a blogger, who thinks; I am a Thinker, who blogs. Speaking Truth to Power!
In 1981′s ‘Body Heat’, Kathleen Turner said, “Knowledge is power”.
T.A.B.A.C.C.O. (Truth About Business And Congressional Crimes Organization) – Think Tank For Other 95% Of World: WTP = We The Peopl