New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be sworn in for a second term today amid George Washington Bridge scandal and Superstorm Sandy aid.
But the 55th governor of New Jersey has a full schedule of inaugural events.
Chris Christie’s day is scheduled to start with a service at Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church before a swearing in and address in Trenton and an evening party on Ellis Island, a symbolic spot synonymous with the promise of the US. The island where some 12 million immigrants first entered the US is divided between New Jersey and New York, but his party is to be in a hall on the New York side.
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who was drawn into the controversy surrounding Chris Christie this weekend, is also to be sworn in for her second term.
Chris Christie won re-election in November by a 22-point margin over state Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democrat.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be sworn in for a second term amid George Washington Bridge scandal and Superstorm Sandy aid
He became a fixture in speculation about who would seek the 2016 presidential nomination with his leadership after Superstorm Sandy slammed into his state in October 2012.
He worked with President Barack Obama and took on Republican members of Congress who were reluctant to approve aid for storm victims, receiving high marks from his constituents and plentiful national attention.
Chris Christie’s reputation has been battered somewhat since revelations this month that a staffer ordered two of three approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge from the town of Fort Lee shut down for four days in September apparently as political retribution against the mayor there, perhaps for not endorsing Christie for re-election.
The US Attorney’s Office and two state legislative committees are now investigating.
Chris Christie has apologized, denied any involvement with or knowledge of the plot and fired a deputy chief of staff at the center of the controversy. But questions have continued.
His administration also faces an allegation from the Democratic mayor of Hoboken that it tied the delivery of Superstorm Sandy aid to the low-lying city of 50,000 across from Manhattan to support for a prime real estate project.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer said that she was told by Kim Guadagno that the ultimatum came directly from Christie. Kim Guadagno strongly denied those claims Monday and described them as “false” and “illogical.”
Chris Christie’s deputy, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, has denied claims that they threatened to withhold disaster funds from Hoboken, a New Jersey city hit by Superstorm Sandy.
New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno told reporters the accusation was “wholly and completely false”.
Hoboken’s mayor alleges she was told her city could lose out on federal money unless she backed a real estate project favored by Governor Chris Christie.
It is the latest claim of corruption to hit the Republican governor.
Chris Christie is often tipped as the party’s top contender to take back the White House in 2016. According to some pollsters, he is one of the only Republicans who could beat Democrat Hillary Clinton, if she decided to run for president.
But communications made public earlier this month suggest Chris Christie’s senior staff orchestrated traffic gridlock in an act of political retaliation against another mayor who refused to endorse the governor’s re-election.
Separately, federal officials are investigating whether Chris Christie misused recovery funds in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to finance an advertising campaign during an election year.
Then on Saturday, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said that Lt Gov Kim Guadagno had approached her in a car park in May last year and told her recovery funds would be disbursed to her city on condition she approved a property development by the New York-based Rockefeller Group.
Chris Christie’s deputy, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, has denied claims that they threatened to withhold disaster funds from Hoboken
The mayor – who has offered to take a lie-detector test or testify under oath about her claims – recalled Lt Gov Kim Guadagno saying that it was “a direct message from the governor”.
But at Monday morning’s event in Union Beach, New Jersey, Lt Gov Kim Guadagno said that as a victim herself of Superstorm Sandy she found the Hoboken mayor’s allegations “particularly offensive”.
“Mayor Zimmer’s version of our conversation in May of 2013 is not only false but is illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined,” she said.
“Any suggestion, any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false.”
A spokesman for Chris Christie issued a statement late on Saturday denying the alleged political strong arm tactics.
Hoboken, a low-lying city across the Hudson River from New York City, was inundated with flood waters when Sandy struck in October 2012. Chris Christie’s handling of the recovery effort greatly boosted his popularity.
The city received $342,000 out of an initial $1.8 billion of federal aid distributed by the state, Mayor Dawn Zimmer said. Another rollout of funding is due to disburse $1.4 billion.
The Hoboken mayor said at the weekend that she had decided to speak out now in the hope that her city would not lose out on the second tranche of aid, and because she thought no-one would have believed her beforehand.
The Rockefeller Group has denied the claims, which relate to plans for a 40-storey office tower and commercial development in Hoboken.