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Hoboken mayor: New Jersey Gov. Christie withheld storm relief

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New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno greets Gov. Chris Christie as he arrives to deliver the State of the State address on Jan. 14, 2014 in Trenton.

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

TRENTON, N.J. — The Christie administration withheld millions of dollars in Superstorm Sandy recovery grants from a New Jersey city because its mayor refused to sign off on a politically connected commercial development, the mayor said on Saturday.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer alleged that Gov. Chris Christie's lieutenant governor and a top community development official told her that recovery funds would flow to her city if she allowed the project to move forward.

Zimmer said Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno pulled her aside at an event in May and told her that Sandy aid was tied to the project — a proposal from the New York City-based Rockefeller Group aimed at prime real estate in the densely populated city across the river from New York City.

“I was directly told the by the lieutenant governor — she made it very clear — that the Rockefeller project needed to move forward or they wouldn't be able to help me,” Zimmer said.

“There is no way I could ethically do what the governor, through the lieutenant governor, is asking me to do,” she said.

Christie's office denied Zimmer's claims, calling her statements politically motivated. Spokesman Colin Reed said the administration has been helping Hoboken secure assistance since Sandy struck.

A state website that tracks the distribution of Sandy aid shows that Hoboken received a $200,000 post-storm planning grant in October out of a $1.8 billion pot of money controlled by the state. Hoboken also received a $142,000 state energy resilience grant.

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