Before “bridgegate,” Chris Christie was beating Hillary Clinton in preliminary presidential polling. Considering the political history of the Clintons in dealing with their opponents, there was no way that was going to be allowed to stand. Just for the record, I would like to repeat that I do not support Chris Christie for President. My three choices are Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, or Rick Perry, none of which at this time has a realistic chance for the nomination because the Republican establishment would never support them.
The first attack on Governor Christie was about the closing of the traffic lanes in Fort Lee. I will get to that later. After that attack, the Democrat Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken claimed that Christie’s administration threatened to withhold Sandy relief funding if she didn’t approve a building development project favored by the governor. The media went wild. Now they had him–he was bullying this poor innocent mayor–and bullying right now is the worst crime anyone can commit. Well, things are not always what they appear to be.
Guy Benson at Townhall.com did some research. He discovered that the Journal entry she claims to have made was undated and unverifiable. To add to the story, an attorney who represented a client in an unrelated case has stepped forward to point out that Mayor Zimmer testified that she does not keep a record or journal of conversations on city business. She said so in a sworn deposition taken last July, then again at trial.
The article further reports:
David Mello is the only shred of independent corroboration in this case — in support of Zimmer, that is. He is described by MSNBC as a Zimmer loyalist, and openly admits that he was adamantly opposed to Christie’s re-election. Why he waited for several days after this story broke to remember his conversation with Zimmer is unclear, but a core question remains: Why didn’t he, a hardcore Christie opponent, report the alleged corruption scheme to authorities or the voting public when he first learned of the issue?
…The initial MSNBC article that went viral several weekends ago left a strong impression that the city of Hoboken, which was 80 percent flooded after Sandy, had been denied virtually bereft of all relief aid, save for an insignificant pittance. In truth, the city has been approved for roughly $70 million in direct relief and reconstruction aid from the federal and New Jersey governments. Christie’s office says Hoboken is set to receive even more, pending federal approval. Zimmer’s chief complaint was about “hazard mitigation” funds. She says she requested more than $100 million in that specific type of aid, but only received approximately $350,000. Her original ask was unrealistic in the extreme. The pot of money Christie’s administration had to distribute for this purpose was about $300 million — total, for the entire state.
…Mayor Zimmer fingered two separate Christie officials, who she says delivered corrupt, quid pro quo threats on behalf of the administration. One was the Lieutenant Governor, who strongly denies it, and the other is a man named Richard Constable. Zimmer says Constable confronted her on the set of a television show, on which they both served as panelists. The network has no record of their supposed conversation, and another panelist who sat directly next to Zimmer has explicitly refused to back up her version of events. Matt Doherty is the Democratic mayor of Belmar, New Jersey. He says he remembers no such conversation ever taking place, and went out of his way to praise Christie’s professionalism and responsiveness after the storm hit.
There is also the fact that the story changed after it was first reported. Originally Mayor Zimmer had claimed that he governor’s anti-Hoboken retaliation was rooted in her decision not to endorse his re-election bid. This, of course, was considered to be another example of the kind of bullying that closed the traffic lanes. Later Mayor Zimmer claimed she was threatened because she did not support a building project. Even later, Mayor Zimmer explicitly told CNN that Hoboken had not endured any form of retaliation from Christie’s office. All three stories happened in the same week.
Later, Mayor Zimmer was praising Governor Christie for the great job he has done. It just doesn’t add up.
So what about the lane closings? Yesterday a lawyer for the former official, David Wildstein, stated that Mr. Wildstein has evidence that Chris Christie knew about the lane closings beforehand. David Wildstein is a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge. The lawyer has not revealed what the evidence is, and an article at Townhall.com includes a tweet from Josh Barro that asks the question, “If Wildstein has evidence the governor knew about the lane closures, why didn’t he turn it over in response to the NJ Leg subpoena?” Good question.
Hot Air posted an article about the ‘new evidence’ that included the following:
Wildstein’s got two possible reasons to lie. One, obviously, is revenge on Christie. Wildstein resigned in early December, no doubt under pressure from the governor’s office. Maybe he has an axe to grind now, if only because he assumed Christie would go to bat for an old friend like him. The other reason is immunity: He’s spent the last two weeks whispering to people that he’s willing to talk if he’s spared the threat of prosecution. The U.S. Attorney hasn’t taken the bait yet. This is an obvious pot-sweetener.
Stay tuned. All is not what it appears to be.