Nightly News | January 18, 2014
>>> good evening. the mayor of a small new jersey suburb is making big news tonight with new charges of political strong arming against the embattled office of governor chris christie . just a day after a fleury of subpoenas went out seeking to determine whether christie 's office orchestrated that now infamous bridge traffic jam in an act of political retribution against one mayor, the mayor of hoboken said she was threatened with pay back with sandy storm related funds held hostage. she is a democrat, governor christie is a republican who's widely believed to be eyeing a run for president. tonight charges of political motivation are flying both ways. nbc national investigative correspondent michael isakoff has new charges.
>> reporter: a new charge of political retribution from a leading mayor in his state.
>> i remember telling my inner circle , i can't believe this. i just received a direct threat from the governor of the state of new jersey.
>> reporter: dawn zimmer , democratic mayor of hoboken , a city of hoboken , said last may kim gudano made the threat in a parking lot telling her it was very important to the governor that she back a billion dollar development project or we are not going to be able to help you with funds to rebuild from hurricane sandy.
>> she said i know these things are not right, these things should not be connected but they are and if you tell anybody, i'll deny it.
>> reporter: zimmer says she couldn't believe it.
>> i'm stunned that he would use the sandy funds and hold those sandy funds over my head when you consider what happened to hoboken , we were devastated.
>> reporter: zimmer says another message came a few days later from richard constable, christie 's community affairs director.
>> if you move ahead with that project, money will throw.
>> reporter: e-mails show the project is represented by the law firm of david sampson , one of christie 's top political advisors who chairs the port authority and who this week was subpoenaed by a legislative panel investigating the george washington traffic jams .
>> the connection that we can make is that the project is represented by wolf and sampson and dave sampson is very close to chris christie but there's no evidence that sampson and kristie are conspiring.
>> reporter: i thought he was moral, it reads. this week i found out he's cut from the same corrupt cloth that i was fighting for the last four years. it literally brings tears to my eyes. zimmer who refused to back the project said hoboken received only $342,000 of the $100 million of the sandy funding it requested but zimmer did not speak out at the time.
>> i probably should have come forward.
>> reporter: today christie aids shot back calling the charges out land i shally false and noting that she praised the governor last august writing, to be clear, i am glad governor christie has been our gov. it's very clear partisan politics are at play here as democratic mayors with a political axe to grind are out. christie is now facing three investigations into charges that his office engaged in political pay back against another democratic mayor by creating those massive traffic jams . legislative leaders who served 20 subpoenas yesterday said they may expand their probe to look at zimmer 's allegations. in his response today christie 's spokesman said governor christie and his entire administration have been helping hoboken to get the help they need. the city is already approved for $70 million in federal aid and it's targeted to get even more when the obama administration approves the next round of funding. and a spokesman for david sampson 's law firm said in a statement its conduct in representing that development project was appropriate in all respects. lester?