A planning report heavily favored the politically connected builder of a proposed $1.1 billion development that is at the center of a dispute between the governor’s office and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. The mayor alleges that the Christie administration withheld Sandy recovery money from her city because she did not favor fast-tracking the massive project.Obviously, the mere fact that the Port Authority favored the development project doesn't prove or disprove Zimmer's allegation about Sandy relief aid being tied to her approval of the project, but it does illustrate that the Christie administration was supportive of the development. It also shows the Port Authority at the center of a political sensitive decision, one in which Christie's choice for Port Authority chairman had a stake.
Of the 10 industrial and commercial properties that the report recommended for redevelopment, nine were owned by a subsidiary of The Rockefeller Group, records show.
The Rockefeller Group is represented by the law firm of David Samson, a close Christie adviser whom Christie appointed as chairman of the Port Authority, which paid for the planning study.
At this point, one of the key unanswered questions is whether or not Hoboken was denied Sandy recovery aid because of Zimmer's position on the project. The Christie administration has defended itself by pointing to the fact that Hoboken received a fair share of direct payments to individuals, but as Kevin Drum points out, Zimmer's allegation was that Hoboken was denied a fair share of resources from a $290 million flood mitigation fund.
Again, the Christie administration's deflection doesn't conclusively prove anything one way or the other—but instead of clearing smoke from the room, it adds to it.