TODAY   |  January 20, 2014

Hoboken mayor: I met with prosecutors about Christie

Dawn Zimmer, the mayor of Hoboken, N.J., alleges that Gov. Chris Christie, who is already under investigation for an orchestrated traffic jam by members of his staff, held Hurricane Sandy relief funds hostage until the mayor supported a development project in Christie’s interest. Christie’s office states the allegations are “categorically false.” NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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>>> now to new jersey and a new controversy facing governor chris christie . the mayor of hoboken , new jersey, met with federal prosecutors on sunday after she claimed over the weekend that the governor's office conditioned hurricane sandy relief funds to her support of a separate redevelopment project. kelly o'donnell has been following these developments. kelly, good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. this means the investigation is going broader than the bridge traffic and including more about how the christie team may have used its power. based on these specific allegations by a local mayor who even in recent months had praised christie publicly. but now, they are looking at whether there is that link between sandy aid and commercial development . the governor is back and in new jersey today.

>> only brief glimpses of governor chris christie coming and going from florida fundraisers this weekend. but one supportive ally, the democratic mayor of hoboken made a series of tv appearances and allegations against christie 's administration.

>> it's not fair for the governor to hold sandy funds hostage for the city of hoboken because he wants me to give back to one private developer.

>> reporter: she released a statement saying she met for several hours at their request for the u.s. attorney 's office and promised to provide any requested information and testify under oath. zimer claims that last may, she was told that hurricane relief money would be delayed unless the mayor supported a particular developer's project.

>> she pulled me aside in the parking lot and said i know it's not right. i know these things should not be connected, but they are, and if you tell anyone, i'll deny it.

>> christie 's office forcefully rejected the allegations as categorically false and argued that hoboken has received $70 million in federal aid in line with what other communities got and more relief money is expected. further adding that the $100 million that zimmer requested was future flood control not sandy relief. christie 's supporters pointed out that zimmer has changed her story.

>> mayor zimmer said she didn't believe any hold up in the funds had anything to do with any kind of retribution for not endorsing the governor.

>> she explained why she had not come forward sooner.

>> i didn't think anyone would believe me. i really didn't.

>> reporter: and the lieutenant governor has not specifically addressed these new allegations herself. the office has denied it. but she does have a public event today commemorating the martin luther king holiday . and she and governor christie take oath of office tomorrow to begin their second term.