LG Guadagno speaks (finally): Is this a Watergate-style non-denial denial?

I don’t know if Guadagno’s statement this morning fully qualifies as the kind of full-throated, but specific-lacking non-denial denial that the Nixon White House fired out whenever Woodward and Bernstein or Sy Hersh broke a story tightening Nixon’s noose. But what Guadagno said this morning absolutely requires parsing. Particularly for what she did not say. Via CNN:

“Mayor Zimmer’s version of our conversation in May of 2013 is not only false but illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined.” Guadagno

“Mayor Zimmer’s version”: Guadagno does not deny that the conversation takes place, only Zimmer’s interpretation of that convo.  But what she did not say: What that convo was actually about, what she said to Zimmer, whether the Rockefeller Group development was mentioned.

What else didn’t Guadagno say? Follow me below the fold…

Guadagno took no questions: Possibly significant. The impression is that the Christie front office didn’t think the LG’s statement would stand up to press questions, or that she would stray off carefully worded talking points.  

Parse this: “The suggestion that anyone would hold back Sandy relief funds for any reason is wholly and completely false.” Yes, that is offensive. But the allegation isn’t that “anyone” did that, but that she (Guadagno) did that. Interesting that she would phrase it the way she did.

Invoking Sandy/Guadagno as “victim”:Guadagno, in Union Beach where Christie has great PR, spoke surrounded by Sandy-affected mayors, about how Sandy damaged her home. And that “makes the mayors allegations particularly offensive to me.”

As if what is offensive personally to Guadagno is the point. Which it is not.

Meandering to unrelated stuff: After a firmly enunciated rebuttal, Guadagno meanders into things that have nothing to do with Hoboken’s allegations; creation of jobs in Hoboken (and all over New Jersey), how many times she’s visited Hoboken (13), filling empty buildings in Hoboken, and that she thought she had a good relationship with Zimmer (before this).

It now becomes clear that LG Guadagno, Christie’s DCA Commissioner Richard Constable and possibly others may have to testify under oath. Will they repeat their claims that Zimmer is lying? Zimmer’s already spoken to the U.S. Attorney’s office; it would have been a crime for her to lie to federal investigators she spoke to on Sunday.  If Guadagno and others in Christie’s inner sanctum have to testify, will they repeat their stories? Or will they change their story in a federal investigation platform where not telling the truth is a crime?

Let the investigations continue. All of them. Until all the questions are answered.  

Comments (12)

  1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    Hunter Walker has a good piece about how little Guadagno is known, even among GOP leaders in her own party. The link is currently at the top of our Quick Hits.

  2. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Obviously written by a layer.

  3. firstamend07

    Gaugdano is talking in lawyer speak.

    Zimmer was not.

    Gaugdano refuses to answer questions from the press.

    Zimmer answers everything.

    Who is lying?  

  4. Ms. Magoo

    Not sure what to make of the Mayor’s offer to take a lie detector test, and whether the LG (or anyone else involved) is similarly willing.

  5. firstamend07



    TRENTON – The top Republican in the state Assembly thinks the Legislature should stop investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal and let federal investigators take over.

    What is he worried about?  

  6. JackHarris

    a.) Hazard Mitigation; and/or

    b.) Flood Plain Management

    I’m pretty certain that any investigations will find that “Sandy Relief” was not at issue and in fact the Governor’s office is already playing it that way.

    “Sandy Relief” covers many things from private insurance to temporary FEMA reimbursements to FEMA rental assistance, to HUD money to private foundation and grant money.  The State and Governor’s office does not have control over a significant chunk of it.

    BUT, and it’s a big BUT, was there a quid pro quid for post-storm rebuilding and redevelopment?

    Because coastal redevelopment and “hardening” is where the state plays the lead role.

    And Hoboken had some pretty big plans post-storm.

  7. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    “I am genuinely disappointed that Lieutenant Governor Guadagno has lived up to her promise that she would deny linking Hoboken’s application for Sandy hazard mitigation funding with expediting a private development project,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I met with the U.S. Attorney for over two hours yesterday, answered all their questions and turned over my journal in which I described my conversation with the Lieutenant Governor and Commissioner Constable. I stand by my word, remain willing to testify under oath, and I will continue to answer any questions asked of me by the U.S. Attorney’s office.”

  8. toaonua

    Defending the Arts Amid a Culture of Fear

    by Dan Aubrey:


  9. Nick Lento

    Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey Kim Guadagno is now all over the news calling Mayor Dawn Zimmer a liar.

    Zimmer was interviewed for hours yesterday by the Feds.  Se told her story and presented her documents.  If Zimmer was lying she would be open to criminal prosecution and serious jail time in a federal penitentiary.

    Mayor Zimmer issued a very brief press release as a rebuttal to Guadagno’s video press conference in which she re asserted her account…..but unfortunately, that’s not good enough.

    We need to understand that the Christie administration is, at this point, a kind of political wounded animal…..one with great weight, sharp teeth and even sharper claws.   They have no choice but to go on the attack….they can’t seriously factually rationally dispute the substance of the allegations surrounding Bridgegate….and this latest allegation, so all they have left is to attack the investigations and the investigators as being what Giuliani called ” a partisan witch hunt”.

    My sense is that Zimmer is telling the truth.  Unfortunately, in a kind of perverse way, this latest allegation gives the Christie machine a pretext upon which to try to muddy the waters with all manner of distraction and ongoing deception.

    I urge Mayor Dawn Zimmer to hold her own press conference…perhaps accompanied by an attorney with prosecutorial experience and media skills.   She needs to make the case…strongly…in the court of public opinion, that she is telling the truth.

    Mayor Zimmer needs to effectively, exhaustively and honestly answer all of the questions put to her…including the hostile accusatory questions that will come from the Fox News types.  

    Mayor Zimmer needs to take as much time as it takes to explain the complicate details of the situation she is in…and to present all the relevant supporting documents which put the events in a truthful context in which it becomes very clear just just why she is telling the truth.

    It has been said that the devil is in the details…but so is God!  The key is to get all of the details out into the sunshine in an objective and honest manner.

    If Mayor Zimmer chooses to lay low…at this point, the Christie PR apparatus will chew her up and destroy her by character assassination.

    Bullies are only defeated when they are stood up to….this is about much more than the bridge lane closures or the Hoboken intimidation….it’s about what kind of state and nation we wish to live in.

    Please Mayor Zimmer…..you’ve already taken one courageous step….please find the strength to follow through and to be willing to fight for truth and justice over the long haul.  This will take months and/or years to resolve.  Stay strong!!!

  10. firstamend07

    The bottom line is that W&W have all the cards.

    Both the Chairs will take their time,let the Christie people and the GOP sheep keep talking,and then follow the facts.

    The GOP slander machine will go after Zimmer and the media,that is what they do, but as long as W&W keep their heads the truth will come out.  

  11. Bob h

    is going to have an interview with the FBI and Federal Prosecutor.nlying to them will be an entirely different matter than lying to the public.


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