How many NJ Mayors faced this choice:
Go along with our corrupt development scheme or lose any real Sandy aid for your city.Today we know of at least one.
Like many of you, this morning I watched Steve Kornacki's report with wide-eyed amazement. Of course, I've been following the GWB scandal and have written about it here. But even I was not prepared for the story this morning.
Dawn Zimmer, the Mayor of Hoboken, was a Democratic Mayor who had supported Christie in his first term. She became Mayor as a result of the prior Mayor's downfall in a corruption scandal. Today, she described how the Lt. Governor and another Christie administration official essentially tied Sandy aid to preferential approval of a development project favored by the administration. Her story was supported by her contemporaneously written journal describing these encounters and her disbelief that her "beloved Governor" would put her in the position of either losing desperately needed Sandy aid or aiding and abetting a corrupt process.
The bridge story came out in dribs and drabs: A legislative inquiry, following by resignations, followed by emails, followed by a press conference.
The Hoboken story jumped out in one initial fell swoop this morning, as the nearly tearful Mayor spoke with Steve Kornacki. But what impressed me even more was the swift denials and accusations that she was lying from the Christie administration. Within hours, this has become a heartfelt accusation, followed by unequivocal responses that she was not telling the truth. Not only that, but the developer, Rockefeller, issued a statement disclaiming any knowledge and condemning any scheme like the one described.
This scandal has had a lot of faces on the perp side -- Wildstein, Kelly and Christie himself. Yes, there has been the Ft. Lee Mayor, but we still don't know whether the Bridge closing was directed at him individually.
But Dawn Zimmer is a sympathetic and convincing face for the outrageous and ham-handed bullying of the Christie thugs. She will be the target of a tsunami of abuse now, but will also receive support from other victims of brutal tactics coming from a Governor who gloried in posing as the guy who stood up for the Sandy victims, but was quite the opposite.