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Hoboken Council Lawyers Up as FBI Probes Sandy Funding Threat Allegations

Federal agents have spoken to Mayor Dawn Zimmer's chief of staff, Dan Bryan, and Juan Melli, her communications director, according to NBC News.

Dawn Zimmer / File photo
Dawn Zimmer / File photo

The City of Hoboken hired a lawyer Wednesday as federal agents conduct an investigation into allegations that New Jersey officials would deny relief funds to storm-battered Hoboken last year unless the city's mayor supported a development project.

City council voted 5-4 Wednesday to hire Newark-based criminal defense attorney Gerry Krovatin to "represent the council’s interests" as the investigation proceeds, according to northjersey.com.

The resolution authorized $17,000 to be spent on the attorney.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer didn’t appear before the council Wednesday night, according to the report, but told the council in a letter that she had provided documentation regarding the case to the U.S. attorney in Newark.

Zimmer alleges that Gov. Chris Christie’s administration threatened to withhold funds to help the city recover from Superstorm Sandy unless she expedited a politically-connected development project. 

Zimmer, a Democrat and former Christie ally, told MSNBC host Steve Kornacki that she was pressured by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno; Richard Constable, the current commissioner of community affairs; and Lori Grifa, the former commissioner, among others.

Christie's administration has denied the accusations.

FBI agents were involved in the investigation, according to a report on NBC News Thursday, questioning witnesses and telling them to “preserve all documents and emails relating to the allegations” by Zimmer.

Dan Bryan, the mayor’s chief of staff, and Juan Melli, her communications director, were among the Zimmer confidants questioned by the feds.

Guadagno over the weekend blasted Zimmer’s allegations as "completely false."

cassandra January 27, 2014 at 12:27 PM
The last two sentences were not in the article but rather my comment
Eric Kurta January 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Cannot speak to the authenticity of this excerpt, but only say that if accurate, the question asked was not if she keeps a diary but if she keeps records/notes of meetings with department heads. “When you have meetings regarding day-to-day activities involving Hoboken business with your department heads, do you memorialize any of the conversation that takes place yourself?” by attorney Zayas. She responded, “No, I don’t transcribe it.” The deposing attorney followed up by asking whether she wrote “notes in a calendar or some sort of memo pad that says follow up on a text or this was said during this meeting; anything that would help you recall what was said during the course of the meeting?” Zimmer responded, “No, I don’t.”
cassandra January 27, 2014 at 01:38 PM
If the Zayas suit proceeds, the diary , now it is known to exist, will be called as evidence. Where this will lead is hard to tell.
FAP January 27, 2014 at 02:46 PM
It's funny. If Zayas actually asked about the Mayor having a diary don't you think he would have shown EVERYONE that part of the transcript? Instead we see him asking about transcriptions of meetings and having a meeting calendar. None of those are a personal diary or journal.
cassandra January 27, 2014 at 05:44 PM
Time will tell

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