A report commissioned by Gov. Chris Christie to be released Thursday will include an email that could raise questions about the account of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, one of the governor's chief accusers and a key witness in the criminal investigation of his administration, according to sources familiar with the report.
"I would be more than happy to come and say a quick hello and welcome Gov. Christie when he comes to Hoboken tomorrow," Zimmer wrote to Christie's chief political consultant Mike Duhaime, in an Aug. 21, 2013 email, a copy of which is included in the Christie-commissioned report, according to a source familiar with the document.
That email, which sources say has been turned over to federal prosecutors, is potentialy significant because it was written three months after Zimmer says that Christie's lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, threatened that Zimmer's city would lose Hurricane Sandy funding if she didn't back a billion-dollar development project.
Zimmer has said she was so upset about the alleged threat -- which Guadagno has denied -- that she wrote an entry in her diary in May 2013 saying about Christie: "I thought he was moral. This week, I found out he's cut from the same corrupt cloth that I have been fighting for the last four years ... it literally brings tears to my eyes."
In the Aug. 21 email, Zimmer also offers a "heads up" to Duhaime, Christie's political consultant, about a potentially damaging story about Sandy funding for Hoboken. "On another front, I just want to give you heads up that a reporter just called and asked me why Brick township" -- another town in New Jersey -- is getting $40 million for Sandy recovery "and Hoboken has not received any funding for comprehensive resiliency measures to protect our city" Zimmer wrote.
"This particular reporter asked if this had anything to do with the fact that I have not endorsed" [Christie for re-election], Zimmer wrote. "I very clearly stated it does not." Zimmer further said she plans to "reach out to the governor's office to try to understand the difference in the funding sources between Brick and Hoboken so that I can better respond going forward. I doubt this reporter is going to run anything because I did not give them anything to report but I just wanted to let you know that may be what some people are trying to spin."
The internal review was launched to examine allegations surrounding the 2013 lane closures on the George Washington Bridge and allocation of Sandy relief aid.
A lawyer for Zimmer said she would not comment on the email until she has had a chance to review the entire report, which is being released this morning. She has said in the past she did not publicly reveal the alleged threat by Guadagno at the time because she did not want to jeopardize future Sandy recovering funding for Hoboken.
The report, conducted by the law firm of Gibson Dunn, is expected to concluded that Christie had no prior knowledge of the plan for the lane closures. But Democrats have already criticized the document as incomplete because the lawyers conducting it had no access to key players, including former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, former campaign manager Bill Stepien and former Port Authority official David Wildstein.
First published March 27 2014, 6:01 AM
Michael Isikoff joined NBC News in July 2010 as national investigative correspondent. Previously he had been at Newsweek since 1994 as an investigative correspondent. He has written extensively on the U.S. government's war on terrorism, the Abu Ghraib scandal, campaign-finance and congressional ethics abuses, presidential politics and other national issues. At Newsweek.com his blog "DeClassified - Investigative Reporting in Real Time," written with Mark Hosenball, become a must-read for senior U.S. officials. Their previous web column, "Terror Watch," also written for Newsweek.com, won the 2005 Society of Professional Journalists award for best investigative reporting online.
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Isikoff is the author of two New York Times best-selling books: "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War," co-written with David Corn, and "Uncovering Clinton: A Reporter's Story," which chronicled his reporting of the Monica Lewinsky story.
Since the terror attacks of 9/11, Isikoff has broken repeated stories about the U.S. government's war on terror and won numerous journalism awards. Isikoff's June 2002 Newsweek cover story on U.S. intelligence failures that preceded the 9/11 terror attacks, along with a series of related articles, was honored with the Investigative Reporters and Editors top prize for investigative reporting in magazine journalism. He was honored, along with a team of Newsweek reporters, by the Society of Professional Journalists for coverage of the Abu Ghraib scandal. Isikoff was also part of a reporting team that earned Newsweek the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in 2002, for its coverage of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Isikoff's exclusive reporting on the Monica Lewinsky scandal gained him national attention in 1998 and his coverage of the events that lead to President Bill Clinton's impeachment earned Newsweek the prestigious National Magazine Award in the Reporting category in 1999. Isikoff's Lewinsky reporting also won the National Headliner Award, the Edgar A. Poe Award presented by the White House Correspondents Association and the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Reporting on the Presidency.
Isikoff came to Newsweek from The Washington Post, where he had been a reporter since September 1981. Isikoff graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in 1974 and received a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 1976.