Author Topic: Emails link top Christie aide to GWB lane-closing controversy  (Read 23592 times)

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Bridgegate verdict: Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly guilty on all counts
By Ted Sherman and Matt Arco | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on November 04, 2016 at 11:30 AM, updated November 04, 2016 at 11:38 AM

NEWARK — Two former Christie administration insiders charged in a bizarre scheme of political retaliation against a mayor who refused to endorse the governor for re-election were found guilty Friday on all counts in the long-running Bridgegate saga.

In a seven-week trial that saw their own words used against them, Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly were convicted of helping orchestrate massive traffic tie-ups at the George Washington Bridge in September 2013. The plot was hatched to send a pointed message to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, after he stepped back from his earlier public support of Gov. Chris Christie.

The jury passed a note to judge Friday morning, indicating it had reached a verdict. The decision came one day after U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton denied a defense motion to re-instruct the jury.

Attorneys started to filter back into the federal courthouse around 11 a.m. The jury began reading its findings just before 11:30 a.m. and delivered their guilty decision in rapid fire. Baroni and Kelly were charged on nine counts, and faced five of them together. The other four charges were split evenly, two each for the defendants.

The criminal case, built around a rarely used provision of a fraud statute that makes it a crime to "misapply" property of federal aid recipients, charged that Baroni and Kelly intentionally misapplied the property or money of the Port Authority.

The jury of seven women and five men heard from 35 witnesses, including both defendants who took the stand on their behalf. But the most damaging evidence might have been the now-infamous "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" email sent by Kelly less than a month before several local access toll lanes at the world's busiest bridge were inexplicably closed for nearly a week in September 2013, leading to paralyzing gridlock on local streets. Read more

Offline stephen

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"I just stepped back and watched the jerk fall flat on his face," is what :fulop: didn't say.

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The other mayor who faced retribution from Team Christie
« Reply #37 on: 05-05-2015, 03:40pm »
From MaddowBlog:

The other mayor who faced retribution from Team Christie
05/04/15 08:00 AM
By Steve Benen

Many of the key details surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) bridge scandal came into sharper focus on Friday. As part of a plea agreement, David Wildstein, a former member of Christie’s team, explained that he and two other top aides to the governor conspired to deliberately cripple a New Jersey for several days as part of a retribution scheme – the local mayor didn’t endorse Christie’s re-election, so the governor’s aides punished the community.
 
The top members of the governor’s administration picked the time to inflict the most severe damage – the first day of school – then coordinated a cover-up of their alleged crimes. Two prominent former members of Christie’s team are now facing a nine-count criminal indictment, with an apparent trial on the way.
 
But the Jersey Journal flagged an interesting detail that was also revealed, though largely overlooked, on Friday

    Buried in the 30-page federal indictment of two key figures in the Bridgegate scandal is additional confirmation that Gov. Christie Christie’s office had it in for Mayor Steve Fulop.
     
    There was a “coordinated and deliberate refusal by the conspirators to communicate with, meet or respond” to Fulop after he became mayor in July 2013, according to the nine-count indictment of Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s ex-chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, formerly Christie’s top appointee at the Port Authority.


I can appreciate the fact that it’s tough to keep track of all of the various scandals surrounding the Republican governor’s office, but these new details about the governor’s office punishing the mayor of Jersey City reinforce an alarming pattern of abuse from Team Christie. Read more

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Christie ally David Wildstein pleads guilty, says Bridgegate closures were retribution
By Thomas Zambito | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on May 01, 2015 at 11:41 AM, updated May 01, 2015 at 2:23 PM

NEWARK — Former Port Authority executive David Wildstein pleaded guilty Friday to his role in the politically motivated closure of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge.

Wildstein, 53, admitted in federal court to conspiring with former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director William Baroni and Gov. Chris Christie's former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly to "punish" Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie's re-election bid.

Appearing before Judge Susan D. Wigenton, Wildstein pleaded guilty to conspiracy to misapply property of the Port Authority and conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Fort Lee residents in the September 2013 lane closings.

He was released on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond in return for his cooperation with the government and faces 21 to 27 months in federal prison. Read more

--

Bridgegate: Bill Baroni, Bridget Kelly indicted on 9 counts
By Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on May 01, 2015 at 12:44 PM, updated May 01, 2015 at 3:06 PM

NEWARK — Two key figures in the Bridgegate scandal — Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly — were each indicted on nine counts of conspiracy, fraud and related charges, according to court documents unsealed Friday.

Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff of Gov. Chris Christie, allegedly conspired to close the local access lanes of the George Washington Bridge in 2013.

The most serious charges in the indictment carry a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney's office said. Read more

--

Christie allies deliberately refused to meet with Fulop, indictment says
By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
on May 01, 2015 at 2:58 PM, updated May 01, 2015 at 3:16 PM

JERSEY CITY – Buried in the 30-page federal indictment of two key figures in the Bridgegate scandal is additional confirmation that Gov. Christie Christie's office had it in for Mayor Steve Fulop.

There was a "coordinated and deliberate refusal by the conspirators to communicate with, meet or respond" to Fulop after he became mayor in July 2013, according to the nine-count indictment of Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's ex-chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, formerly Christie's top appointee at the Port Authority.

Fulop's spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment. An email seeking comment from Christie's spokesman was not returned.

The indictment, unsealed today, stems from the federal probe into the politically-motivated lane shutdowns on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013. Read more

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New Subpoena Seeks Evidence Christie Administration Retaliated Against Mayor
By Ted Mann

Federal prosecutors issued a new subpoena to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey this week seeking possible evidence of claims New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration retaliated against the Democratic mayor of Jersey City.

The subpoena seeks records from a broad range of former authority officials regarding their interactions with Jersey City, according to a person familiar with the matter, including two Christie allies who resigned from the authority amid the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, David Wildstein and Bill Baroni.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has said that the Christie administration punished him when he failed to endorse the governor’s reelection in 2013.

Within an hour of his decision not to provide Mr. Christie a coveted endorsement from across the political aisle, Mr. Fulop has said, meetings his administration had scheduled with state commissioners were abruptly canceled.

Documents uncovered during investigations of the bridge scandal contain indications that Mr. Fulop was considered an enemy of the administration.

They include a message Mr. Wildstein sent ordering “radio silence” in response to requests from the mayor of Fort Lee seeking relief from a week of heavy traffic triggered by the lane closures. “His name comes right after mayor Fulop,” Mr. Wildstein wrote.

A person familiar with the latest subpoena to the Port Authority said it was a broad request covering correspondence among aides and allies of Mr. Christie, including Messrs. Wildstein and Baroni, that touched on any efforts to penalize Mr. Fulop or Jersey City over his failure to endorse Mr. Christie. Read more

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Fulop quoted in Ryan Lizza's big New Yorker bridge gate piece: CROSSING CHRISTIE: What the bridge scandal says about the Governor’s political style, and his future.

Quote
Jersey City’s new Democratic mayor, Steven Fulop, who is thirty-seven and a former marine, quickly learned what could happen to Democrats who didn’t coöperate. After Fulop was elected, in May, 2013, Christie showered him with attention. Top Christie officials were scheduled to meet individually with Fulop on July 18th. “They were going to roll out the red carpet,” Fulop told me. He considered endorsing Christie, but decided not to, partly because he realized that, if he ran for governor in 2017, the endorsement could be used against him in a Democratic primary. Bill Baroni, Wildstein’s boss, and Christie’s top appointee at the Port Authority, called and cancelled his meeting with Fulop. Baroni gave no explanation and made no offer to reschedule it. Michele Brown and three other Christie officials made similar calls within twenty-four hours. “Yes, it’s political retribution,” Fulop told me. “And it’s amateur and immature. But if I saw any indication that they were penalizing the city on something, that would’ve been a different animal.” He added, “It’s a dick move, but it is what it is.”

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"Time for some air traffic problems over Jersey City."



Runway work at Newark Liberty Int'l Airport will add to air traffic above some communities
By Richard Khavkine/The Star-Ledger
on March 28, 2014 at 6:51 PM, updated March 28, 2014 at 7:51 PM

NEWARK — A key portion of Newark Liberty International Airport is getting a makeover.

For two months starting Tuesday, contractors will overhaul one of the airport’s major north-south runways.

Because the work will force the closing of Runway 4L-22R, an east-west runway will see more landings and take-offs and resulting flight patterns will bring more planes over Jersey City, Bayonne and Staten Island, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said in a release.

The agency, however, said airlines flying into and out of Newark Liberty have agreed to reduce scheduled flights by 15 percent, which will somewhat reduce the impact on those communities.


“We regret the inconvenience to residents who typically see a lower volume of planes over their homes, but this work is essential to the safety of fliers and the efficiency of aircraft operations at Newark Liberty International Airport,” Thomas Bosco, the Port Authority’s aviation director, said in the release. “The high-speed taxiways enable aircraft landing at the airport to exit the runway faster, allowing more efficient use of the airfield to help reduce delays and congestion.”

The $97.3 million project, which will also add high-speed taxiways and electrical overhauls, will create more than 500 jobs and about $152 million in economic activity, the Port Authority said.

According to the Authority, the agency’s noise-complaint-hotline system, at (800) 225-1071, has been made easier for people to lodge specific complaints.

The runway is scheduled to reopen June 1. Fewer landings and takeoffs than usual will take place for about two weeks to allow contractors to finish punch-list items, the authority said. It will also close for an additional 10-day period starting Sept. 20.

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Local reactions to report's findings mixed
« Reply #32 on: 03-28-2014, 12:34pm »
Local reactions to report's findings mixed
By Mike D'Onofrio/The Jersey Journal
on March 28, 2014 at 3:01 AM, updated March 28, 2014 at 3:11 AM

HOBOKEN — People in Hoboken and on social media were skeptical of the investigation that practically cleared Gov. Chris Christie of all wrong doing in the “Bridgegate” scandal and found Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations that the governor’s office withheld Hurricane Sandy relief funds “unbelievable.”

The report on the governor’s office’s internal investigation released yesterday said that Christie had no knowledge of the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge. It also said Zimmer’s allegations that the governor’s administration withheld Hurricane Sandy recovery aid unless she approved a development project on the waterfront were “demonstrably false.”

Hoboken resident Robert Rivera, 48, said the report was bogus, adding that he has lost all respect for Christie.

“Did (Christie) have command and control over his personnel and what they were doing? The obvious answer is, ‘no,’” said Rivera. “He doesn’t have any control over his people. So, if he can’t control his people, he can’t control nothing. He’s a waste of time.”

Amy, a Hoboken resident who declined to give her last name, said she still supports the governor.

“I saw what he did in the past with (Hurricane) Sandy,” she said, adding that her support for the two-term governor has been shaken.

On Twitter, @JustJoshBlue tweeted, “My internal investigation concludes their internal investigation was ‘demonstrably laughable.’”

“This internal investigation was a sham. Chris Christie is a small petty man,” tweeted @tigerpatches61.

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Fulop, Christie reconnect over Pulaski Skyway closing
« Reply #31 on: 03-24-2014, 09:43am »
GRAPEVINE: Fulop, Christie reconnect over Pulaski Skyway closing
March 23, 2014 at 3:00 AM

The dust-up between Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and the Christie administration didn't last long. In fact, the two sides have been cordial and productive together since Fulop publicly called out the governor for canceling meetings in what appeared to be political payback.

And you'll never guess the reason why: traffic studies.

The April 12 closing of one side of the Pulaski Skyway — which will be a nightmare for commuters and the Jersey City streets they will clog — was enough to restart the dialogue.

"Both sides have a lot to gain and a lot to lose," a source told Grapevine. "This has the potential to be an epic nightmare that is nobody's fault."

The two have been talking regularly for weeks. In the coming days, they will host two town hall–type meetings with residents to talk about what to expect during the two years this will impact the traffic in the area.

The source figured there were two reasons for the repair in relations just a few weeks after Fulop accused Gov. Chris Christie of presenting a "gross misrepresentation of the facts."

"This is going to be so big that to not talk would be a failure of government of epic proportions," the source said.

The other?

Let's just say it was the result of fighting fire with fire.

"I think the governor's office realized they are dealing with a straight-talking mayor who is going to call it like it is," the source said. "They haven't had any other problems since then. Things have been fine."

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Group to ask Port Authority official Samson to step down
« Reply #29 on: 03-18-2014, 10:21am »
Group to ask Port Authority official Samson to step down
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
on March 18, 2014 at 3:00 AM, updated March 18, 2014 at 3:07 AM

A liberal group plans to call for Port Authority Chair David Samson’s resignation tomorrow outside the bi-state agency’s monthly meeting in Jersey City.

New Jersey Working Families Alliance, which two weeks ago filed a formal ethics complaint against Samson, plans to meet outside 2 Montgomery St. at noon, prior to the 1:30 public portion of the meeting. The Port Authority generally holds its monthly meetings in New York City, but occasionally holds one in its Downtown Jersey City offices, just outside the Exchange Place PATH station.

Samson, an ally of Gov. Chris Christie, has been implicated in a number of scandals, with critics saying his Port Authority role overlapped with the interests of his law firm.

Jersey City residents are furious at the P.A. for its decision to close the Exchange Place to World Trade Center PATH route for most weekends this year.

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Police Union Implicated in Bridgegate Owed Hundreds of Jobs to Christie
Governor boasted of saving jobs at Freedom Tower and airports for Port Authority police, who told stalled motorists on GWB to call Fort Lee mayor
Mark J. Magyar | February 18, 2014

Gov. Chris Christie won the loyalty of the Port Authority police union whose actions are under investigation in Bridgegate by guaranteeing that its rank-and-file would be in charge of security at the new Freedom Tower and by pushing a Port Authority police expansion that added hundreds of union jobs and dues-paying members.

Now the police union and its leaders are under investigation by both the Legislature and the Port Authority for enforcing the George Washington Bridge lane closures, telling disgruntled motorists to call Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich to make sure he knew the lane closures were aimed at him, and backing up the Christie administration’s cover story that the closures were part of a legitimate traffic study.


The police union’s enthusiastic role in the Bridgegate lane closures -- which were ordered by Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly in apparent political retaliation against Sokolich for not endorsing Christie for reelection -- came nearly eight months after the Republican governor won the endorsement of the Port Authority Patromen's Benevolent Association President Paul Nunziato and his then-1,300 member union.

The Port Authority union’s loyalty to Christie is easy to understand, said Martin Robins, director emeritus of Rutgers University’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center: “The union had a very focused interest in this: jobs and dues. And that’s what Christie gave them.”

The Port Authority police force, most of whom are represented by Nunziato’s union, increased in size from 1,500 when Christie took office to 1,700 when Nunziato’s union endorsed him last January and will go up to 2,000 by the end of this year.

Nunziato publicly praised Port Authority Chairman David Samson, Christie’s highest-ranking appointee at the bistate agency, for providing critical support for the police department expansion at a promotions ceremony in Jersey City on October 8, just a month after the Bridgegate lane closures.

Read more

Offline CeeDub

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Side note:  GOV Pufferfish really sounds the ass when he corrects himself and refers to Samson as 'General.'  Samson was an Atty General, not a flag officer. These kids prolly wear dress-up outfits in private!

Offline TheFang

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I believe you mean "Christie simply hates North Jersey."


If you consider the ARC Tunnel fiasco, the NJ Transit train floodapocalypse, and GWB Bridgegate, one could think that Christie simply hates commuters.
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

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Monday newscasts focus on Christie v. Jersey City mayor
« Reply #25 on: 01-14-2014, 02:46pm »
Monday newscasts focus on Christie v. Jersey City mayor
By The Jersey Journal
on January 14, 2014 at 11:44 AM, updated January 14, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Cable and network news last night leaned heavily on the story of Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop's feud with Gov. Chris Christie, with the left-leaning MSNBC's prime-time lineup lavishing attention on the latest development in the George Washington Bridge lane closures controversy.

Rachel Maddow focused on the Fulop flap in her main segment last night, with Maddow calling the Jersey City mayor a "rising star of a Democratic mayor." After a brief, celebratory bio of Fulop, Maddow spent 17 minutes discussing the meetings Fulop claims the Christie administration canceled with him last July after he said he wouldn't endorse the governor's reelection bid.

On The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, the Wall Street Journal's Heather Haddon spoke to O'Donnell about how aggressively Christie's allies courted Fulop before Fulop said he wouldn't endorse Christie, after which there was, to quote a certain email, "radio silence."

NBC, meanwhile, ran a clip of Christie speaking at Fulop's July 1 inauguration above its story on the canceled meetings. In the clip, Christie congratulates Fulop's wife and children -- the new mayor is single and childless -- for surviving his successful mayoral bid.

CBS News also aired a segment on yesterday's development.

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If you consider the ARC Tunnel fiasco, the NJ Transit train floodapocalypse, and GWB Bridgegate, one could think that Christie simply hates commuters.

Sanctimonious bleater.

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Offline Soshin

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Is "repairing" the obsolete and decrepit structure that it the Pulaski Skyway rather than replacing it, and only keeping it open in one direction during the repaiars also retaliation for failing to endorse Christie?

Well he did take all that leftover ARC tunnel money (that Washington wanted back) and use it to build roads in South Jersey while the Pulaski crumbles.  I guess South Jersey is in dire need and the traffic must be terrible, it obviously had nothing to do with rewarding the people who vote for him.
"god hates you. you will all go to yuppie hell. in yuppie hell there is no starbucks or hole foods or sushi bar. in yuppie hell you will work 16 hours a day in a bodega. in yuppie hell your car will not start when the sweeper is coming down the street. in yuppie hell your doorman will terrorize you and have sex with your wife or husband...when you are at work....in the bodega. in yuppie hell you will go to the laundromat and lose your last quarter in a broken washing machine. in yuppie hell you will buy all your food and clothing at the 99 cent store. in yuppie hell there are no cell phones, you will use a pay phone. a filthy pay phone".      -   Cat_Man Dude

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Is "repairing" the obsolete and decrepit structure that it the Pulaski Skyway rather than replacing it, and only keeping it open in one direction during the repaiars also retaliation for failing to endorse Christie?

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Another Mayor Faced Reprisal Over Christie, Files Suggest
« Reply #21 on: 01-13-2014, 12:33pm »
:fulop: in The New York Times



Another Mayor Faced Reprisal Over Christie, Files Suggest
By KATE ZERNIKEJAN. 13, 2014

In another indication of the hardball Gov. Chris Christie played to win support from Democratic officials, documents released Monday show that the governor’s administration aggressively courted the mayor of Jersey City, then abruptly cut ties after he informed them that he would not endorse the governor for his re-election.

According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the courtship began with a call from the governor the evening of May 14, after the mayor, Steven Fulop, won election. The next morning, Mr. Christie’s campaign manager for his re-election, Bill Stepien, texted Mr. Fulop to say that the Christie administration would do as much as Mr. Fulop wanted to get help from the administration.

Working with Bridget Anne Kelly – an aide to Mr. Christie who was fired last week after documents showing she gave the signal to shut down lanes on the George Washington Bridge as an act of political retribution – Mr. Fulop then set up a day’s worth of meetings on July 23.

Ms. Kelly and a Fulop aide referred to it as a “mayor’s day,” with scheduled appointments with commissioners or heads of six different administration agencies, including transportation, economic development, the state treasurer and the commissioner of community affairs — the government official who handles state aid to municipalities, among other matters. Meetings were also set up with the director of Hurricane Sandy recovery and Bill Baroni, the governor’s top appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Emails indicate that the Christie administration planned to send staff from the governor’s office as well.

...

After Mr. Fulop told Christie aides on July 18 that he would not endorse the governor, the commissioners began calling to cancel. Almost all cancellations came within an hour, and the remaining ones followed close on their heels. That the commissioners called the mayor’s office personally shows an unusually close level of involvement for high-ranking government officials.

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Meet the Other Mayor Accusing Chris Christie of Retaliation
« Reply #20 on: 01-12-2014, 02:56pm »
:fulop: in Mother Jones


Meet the Other Mayor Accusing Chris Christie of Retaliation
—By Matt Connolly
| Fri Jan. 10, 2014 11:08 AM GMT

His city might not have been flooded with traffic as an act of political retribution, but Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop still considers himself Gov. Chris Christie's number one enemy.

Like Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, Fulop wouldn't endorse Christie in last year's gubernatorial race. (Though Fulop is a Democrat, Christie spoke at his inauguration in July.) Fulop alleged in a statement Thursday that he received swift punishment from the governor's office after informing the Christie camp in September that he would not be endorsing the Republican incumbent. Fulop claimed that Christie officials canceled meetings and rejected his requests to discuss city issues immediately following the news.

"Cancelations include an entire day of meetings with state commissioners scheduled to be in Jersey City that was abruptly canceled, with each of the commissioners individually canceling within an hour of the time I communicated my intention to not endorse," Fulop said.

The Jersey City mayor is referenced in the bridge closure emails released on Wednesday. After being told that Sokolich was asking questions about the George Washington Bridge lane closures, recently resigned Port Authority official David Wildstein replied, "Radio silence. His name comes right after mayor Fulop." Fulop told the Jersey Journal that after seeing that exchange he believes he's "Enemy Number 1."

Shortly after Christie won re-election, Fulop announced plans to sue the Port Authority for $400 million. He claims the agency, which is run by New Jersey and New York, has not been paying enough taxes on the 32 properties it owns in Jersey City.

When Christie was asked about the Jersey City controversy during his long press conference on Thursday, he said he didn't know if Fulop's meetings were canceled for purposes of payback, and he promised to look into the matter. "What Mayor Fulop knows is, when we agree with him from a policy perspective we'll work with him," Christie said. "When we disagree with him, we'll express those disagreements. And sometimes that'll mean friction."

He added: "Have I at times been angry with Mayor Fulop and disagreed with him? You bet I have."

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"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Offline CeeDub

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The more I read about this  the more believeable it becomes, that this was Ms. Kelly flexing her own mini-bully muscles in Bergen County. It's possible that the kept the Gov out of the loop. But he engendered the environment that allowed this hare-brained scheme to hatch. And now he reaps that which he did sow.

Offline Bobblehead

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I was thinking all the "signal problems" that seemed to affect Jersey City only were the retaliation. But, as you so accurately surmise, no one noticed.
Sanctimonious bleater.

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Offline Rabelais

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So why didn't Christie retaliate against Fulop's non-endorsement by shutting down the Marin Blvd. local-access lane to the Holland Tunnel? Or maybe he did and no-one noticed?
I heard he was going to shut down Port Jersey Boulevard once, but found it already backed up.
[02:35 PM] jehu: and the only people on here who gives good advice are few.

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So why didn't Christie retaliate against Fulop's non-endorsement by shutting down the Marin Blvd. local-access lane to the Holland Tunnel? Or maybe he did and no-one noticed?

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Fulop responds to Christie's comments about him
By PolitickerNJ Staff | January 9th, 2014 - 1:29pm

TRENTON - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop this afternoon responded to Gov. Chris Christie's press conference comments about him.

"Governor Christie’s comments today on my relationship with the State are a gross misrepresentation of the facts," Fulop said in a statement. "The reality is that the State requested the DEP meeting held yesterday in Jersey City regarding his administration’s concern that the Hurricane Sandy Recovery/Blue Acres Program is struggling. We took the meeting his administration asked for as it is our responsibility as elected officials.

"Nearly every single meeting we have requested with State commissioners with regard to proactive Jersey City issues has been unfortunately rejected over the last six months, along with countless requests we made to the Port Authority. Cancellations include an entire day of meetings with State commissioners scheduled to be in Jersey City that was abruptly cancelled, with each of the commissioners individually canceling within an hour of the time I communicated my intention to not endorse.

"We vigorously represent the interests of our city every day and to be the focus of inaccurate claims will not deter us from our goal of making Jersey City the best mid-size city in America."
Sanctimonious bleater.

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Offline Kindelan

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Christie said that despite political disagreements at times, he and his staff "continue to work'' with Fulop and Jersey City and said that just yesterday state environmental officials met with Fulop to discuss $190 million in Blue Acres projects to buy properties affected by Hurricane Sandy.


I would like to know more about this.

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That was a whopper of a 2-hour press conference. And he mentioned :fulop: ! Steve, you gotta get on one of the late-night shows. Paging Jimmy Fallon...



Christie: Have I ever been angry with Steve Fulop? 'You bet I have' but ...
By The Jersey Journal
on January 09, 2014 at 11:55 AM, updated January 09, 2014 at 12:10 PM

In his news conference over the Bridgegate scandal this morning, Gov. Christie acknowledged that he has an up-and-down relationship with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and said he would look into Fulop's allegations that members of the state government haven't returned his phone calls for political reasons.

From the podium with cameras constantly clicking around him, Christie asked if he's ever been angry with Fulop and answered: "You bet I have.''

But, he continued, "I also spoke at his inauguration at his invitation.''

In what might be considered another slap at Fulop, Christie started his answer to a reporter's question on Fulop with: "Mayor Fulop seems to have a lot of disagreements with a lot of people.''

The governor later noted that the Fulop administration is "suing the Port Authority.'' (The lawsuit has been planned but hasn't been filed.)

Fulop could not immediately be located for comment.

Christie said that despite political disagreements at times, he and his staff "continue to work'' with Fulop and Jersey City and said that just yesterday state environmental officials met with Fulop to discuss $190 million in Blue Acres projects to buy properties affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Yesterday, the release of the emails that sparked an explosion over the controversial George Washington Bridge lane closures in September, Fulop was referred to as apparently a politician to ignore for political reasons.

The mayor said he read the exchange to mean he was Public Enemy No. 1 but declined to elaborate as to whether he thought it was the feeling of the Port Authority and/or the Christie administration.

Meanwhile, Fulop has been sparring with state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, over a bill that was approved in the Assembly by a 79-0 vote and would allow the Jersey City pension system to mirror the state's but that hasn't been brought to a vote in the Senate. Fulop maintains it's because Sweeney sees him as a political rival.

Offline Soshin

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Upon reading this I was reminded of Team Romney's "Pufferfish" comments on how Christie had too many skeletons in the closet to be considered as a VP pick in the last election.  What other fun can we expect?
------------------------------------------------------


Chris Christie was a ticking time bomb as a politician. It was only a matter of time before he blew up
 
By: Michael Cohen   
theguardian.com, Thursday 9 January 2014 08.45 EST

If there is a singular skill that separates presidential contenders from presidential "also-rans" it is discipline. The ability to stay on message, to keep emotions in check, to avoid distractions, to understand that the long-game must take precedence over the daily news cycle and to dodge the inevitable political headaches that emerge is essential to political success on a national stage.

Obama has it; W had it; Nixon (at least in public) was practically the king.
Here's who doesn't have it: Chris Christie, and it's the reason that his political career is on life support.

Even before the bombshell revelations that his top aides actively sought to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey by closing down on-ramps to the George Washington Bridge, it was fairly obvious that Christie was a man whose decisions were guided as much by impulse and emotion as political calculation.

There have been not one or two but repeated losses of his temper, even with his own constituents. This video of Christie yelling at a skeptic on the Jersey boardwalk while holding aloft an ice cream cone spoke to Christie's remarkable inability (particularly for a politician) to control his temper. He couldn't even prevent himself from yelling at a teacher who questioned his education policies only days before Election Day in November.

To be sure, lots of politicians are thin-skinned. But Christie is different, with his almost complete lack of impulse control. An article last month in the New York Times highlighted Christie's struggles. After John F McKeon, a New Jersey assemblyman, offered a mild critique of Christie's relationship with public sector employees, he received a handwritten note complaining about it. "What governor would take the time to write a personal note over a relatively innocuous comment?" asked McKeon.

But this behavior fits a regular pattern of reprisals and retaliation against anyone who even mildly crosses Christie.

A disciplined politician would understand the pitfalls of making so many political enemies and of acting so harshly in public. But not Christie, which leads us to this week's "Bridge-gate".

What is perhaps most striking about these actions is that they were directed at a small-town mayor who refused to endorse Christie in a gubernatorial race in 2013 that he had basically no chance of losing. Christie was always going to wallop his Democratic opponent Barbara Buono. The real subtext of the race was the governor's entrance onto the national stage as a Republican presidential contender. If there was ever a moment to let bygones be bygones or to turn the other cheek, it was here.

Of course, Christie has decided to use the Captain Renault defense, "'I'm shocked, shocked that my aides would do this." He even claimed (we can only assume with a straight face) that, "this behavior is not representative of me or my administration in any way." It's the rhetoric equivalent of a drone strike on irony.

We may never know for sure, but personally, I don't buy for a second the notion that Christie's deputy chief of staff and his hand-picked choice for the Port Authority were operating independently of Christie. That he has a long track record of personally striking back at political opponents who cross him – but sat this one out – stretches credibility. As the New York Times noted:


Even Republican lawmakers who have supported Mr Christie tell stories of being punished when he perceived them as not supporting him enough.

At this point, the New Jersey governor has lost any right to the benefit of the doubt.

Even if Christie wasn't involved, what does it say about the culture in the governor's office? What kind of shop is he running when one of his most trusted aides would feel comfortable conspiring with the Port Authority to use lane closures as a way to punish Christie's political opponents? Even if Christie was at arms length on the bridge closures, his fingerprints are all over this.

It's why that when the smoke clears not only will Christie no longer be the front-runner for the Republican nomination – there's a reasonable chance he'll no longer be Governor of New Jersey. To be sure, it was always going to be difficult for Christie to win over Republican primary voters – what with his willingness to shake hands with President Obama and his feint toward political moderation. But the bigger problem for Christie was cultural. Republicans voters like a tough guy, but there's toughness and then there's Jersey toughness. These aren't the same things.

Above all what today's revelations demonstrate is that he simply lacked the discipline to be a national figure, to undergo political scrutiny and to respond to political differences with something other than fury. He was a ticking time bomb as a politician. It was only a matter of time before he blew up.
"god hates you. you will all go to yuppie hell. in yuppie hell there is no starbucks or hole foods or sushi bar. in yuppie hell you will work 16 hours a day in a bodega. in yuppie hell your car will not start when the sweeper is coming down the street. in yuppie hell your doorman will terrorize you and have sex with your wife or husband...when you are at work....in the bodega. in yuppie hell you will go to the laundromat and lose your last quarter in a broken washing machine. in yuppie hell you will buy all your food and clothing at the 99 cent store. in yuppie hell there are no cell phones, you will use a pay phone. a filthy pay phone".      -   Cat_Man Dude

Offline Soshin

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Time to start looking at past PATH delays and closures at the Holland Tunnel?

-----------------------------------------------------------

Slap at Fulop in GWB lane closures email shocks political observers

Hudson County political observers were stunned to learn today that Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop was apparently on a Port Authority enemies list long before he said he would file a $400 million lawsuit against the bi-state agency.

In an email released today as part of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal,  a top Christie aide asks then-Port Authority official David Wildstein whether the agency had responded to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich’s complaints about the closures.

“Radio silence,” Wildstein, a Christie ally, wrote on Sept. 9. “His name comes right after Mayor Fulop.”

Fulop texted The Jersey Journal to say he believes the email means he’s “Enemy Number 1.” He declined to comment further or say whose enemy he thinks he is.

Wildstein's comment elicited gasps from others.

"Wow," Freeholder Bill O'Dea of Jersey City, a Fulop ally, said when he heard the contents of the email.

Asked whether he thinks the email means the Port Authority hates Fulop more than Sokolich, O'Dea said it doesn't matter.

"I'd have to guess they are '1' and '1A,'" he said. "At that point, they're both persona non grata."

Wildstein, who resigned Dec. 6 saying the lane closures had become “a distraction,” could not be reached to comment. An email seeking comment from Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman was not returned.

In a statement released this afternoon, Christie, who had previously denied his office had anything to do with the lane closures, said his staff had "misled" him and that their behavior is "not representative" of him or his administration.

Jonathan Wharton, who teaches political science at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, said he's fascinated by the lane closures flap -- and by Fulop's cameo appearance.

"I'm floored. I'm really floored," Wharton said. "I imagine there's going to be some heads rolling."

Fulop has said he thinks Christie’s office saw him as an enemy when the mayor wouldn’t endorse Christie for re-election.

Wharton said he’d be astonished if Christie’s camp thought they would get the Democratic mayor’s endorsement.

"I can't imagine him going 100 percent with Christie," Wharton said. "Steve is kind of his own show."
"god hates you. you will all go to yuppie hell. in yuppie hell there is no starbucks or hole foods or sushi bar. in yuppie hell you will work 16 hours a day in a bodega. in yuppie hell your car will not start when the sweeper is coming down the street. in yuppie hell your doorman will terrorize you and have sex with your wife or husband...when you are at work....in the bodega. in yuppie hell you will go to the laundromat and lose your last quarter in a broken washing machine. in yuppie hell you will buy all your food and clothing at the 99 cent store. in yuppie hell there are no cell phones, you will use a pay phone. a filthy pay phone".      -   Cat_Man Dude

Offline Soshin

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Everyone in NJ knows CC is a bullying turd - if you didn't then you've been hiding under a seriously large rock for the last however many years.  None of this behavior should come as a surprise.

The more distasteful thing for me is the political appointees at the Port Authority who were perfectly willing to do his (or his aides) bidding.

The Port Authority needs to be completely overhauled and made accountable to the people of NJ/NY and not just the whims of whomever is the latest incumbent in Trenton or Albany.
"god hates you. you will all go to yuppie hell. in yuppie hell there is no starbucks or hole foods or sushi bar. in yuppie hell you will work 16 hours a day in a bodega. in yuppie hell your car will not start when the sweeper is coming down the street. in yuppie hell your doorman will terrorize you and have sex with your wife or husband...when you are at work....in the bodega. in yuppie hell you will go to the laundromat and lose your last quarter in a broken washing machine. in yuppie hell you will buy all your food and clothing at the 99 cent store. in yuppie hell there are no cell phones, you will use a pay phone. a filthy pay phone".      -   Cat_Man Dude

Offline TheFang

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He's toast.

-----

 GWB lane closures delayed EMS response to 4 calls in Fort Lee
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
BY LINH TAT
STAFF WRITER
The Record

FORT LEE – Emergency responders were delayed in attending to four medical situations – including one in which a 91-year-old woman lay unconscious – due to traffic gridlock caused by unannounced closures of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, according to the head of the borough’s EMS department.

The woman later died, borough records show.

In at least two of those instances, response time doubled, noted EMS coordinator Paul Favia, who documented those cases in a Sept. 10 letter to Mayor Mark Sokolich, which The Record obtained.

On Sept. 9, the first day of the traffic paralysis, EMS crews took seven to nine minutes to arrive at the scene of a vehicle accident where four people were injured, when the response time should have been less than four minutes, he wrote.

It also took EMS seven minutes to reach an unconscious 91-year-old woman who later died of cardiac arrest at a hospital. Although he did not say her death was directly caused by the delays, Favia noted that “paramedics were delayed due to heavy traffic on Fort Lee Road and had to meet the ambulance en-route to the hospital instead of on the scene.”

Emergency responders also were late in getting to a third medical emergency that first morning of the lane closures. It took Favia nearly an hour to arrive at a building where a person was experiencing chest pains “due to standstill traffic on Route 46 East. The Mutual Aid ambulance coming from Palisades Park and paramedics coming out of Leonia were also delayed due to the excessive traffic,” he wrote.

Delays in emergency response times continued the next morning when a call that should have taken three or four minutes to respond to took seven, Favia wrote. In that instance, a man was experiencing chest pains.

http://www.northjersey.com/fortlee/GWB_lane_closures_delayed_EMS_response_in_Fort_Lee.html
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Offline Kindelan

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Kiss your presidential bid goodbye, Gov. Krispie.



No way bro. He'll say she went rogue, he knew nothing about it....blah blah blah.


So either he knew about it (he's a vindictive bully) or he didn't (he's clueless and incompetent). Lose-lose situation.

It probably won't hurt him in the GOP primary but if (and it's a big "if") he made it to the general election, any Independents and moderate-type D's or R's he might have swayed will not look kindly on this. The straight-talker act is fine, but no one likes a bully. And CC has quite the history of it.


I don't know bro. I can see his GOP competitors playing this up even harder than the Dems.

This situation reminds me of this quote:

The common people pray for rain, healthy children and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are. Ser Jorah Mormont

Online MÇA

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Kiss your presidential bid goodbye, Gov. Krispie.



No way bro. He'll say she went rogue, he knew nothing about it....blah blah blah.


So either he knew about it (he's a vindictive bully) or he didn't (he's clueless and incompetent). Lose-lose situation.

It probably won't hurt him in the GOP primary but if (and it's a big "if") he made it to the general election, any Independents and moderate-type D's or R's he might have swayed will not look kindly on this. The straight-talker act is fine, but no one likes a bully. And CC has quite the history of it.

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Fulop not popular with Christie ally at the Port Authority, per email on GWB closures
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
on January 08, 2014 at 11:18 AM, updated January 08, 2014 at 1:09 PM

An ally of Gov. Chris Christie at the center of the George Washington Bridge lane closing flap doesn't think too much of Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, according to an email obtained by the Star-Ledger.

Former Port Authority official David Wildstein, who resigned in December after being implicated in the scandal, responded on Sept. 9 to an email from a member of Christie’s senior staff who asked Wildstein whether the Port Authority had responded to the Fort Lee mayor’s complaints about the lane closures, according to The Record.

“Radio silence,” Wildstein wrote. “His name comes right after Mayor Fulop.”

Fulop was persona non grata for Christie’s office, the mayor says, because he declined to endorse the Republican governor’s reelection bid last year. Fulop told The Record this week that after he told Christie’s political team that he wouldn’t endorse him, the governor’s office canceled a host of meetings the new mayor had scheduled.

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich has accused Christie’s allies of closing three local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge because Sokolich wouldn’t endorse Christie, a charge Christie has denied. The September lane closings led to days of traffic nightmares in the Bergen County borough.

In a statement, Fulop said the emails "shed an unfortunate light on Trenton politics."

In November, Fulop said he planned to file a $400 million lawsuit against the Port Authority, further angering officials at the bi-state agency. The Port Authority owes the money in back taxes, fines and other fees, according to Fulop.

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Sanctimonious bleater.

[Today at 01:02 pm] Darna: I have to pee motherfuckers

Offline Kindelan

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Kiss your presidential bid goodbye, Gov. Krispie.



No way bro. He'll say she went rogue, he knew nothing about it....blah blah blah.

Offline Frank M

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Ha--her name is Bridget

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Emails link top Christie aide to GWB lane-closing controversy
« Reply #1 on: 01-08-2014, 10:14am »
Kiss your presidential bid goodbye, Gov. Krispie.



Emails link top Christie aide to GWB lane-closing controversy
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Last updated: Wednesday January 8, 2014, 10:00 AM
BY SHAWN BOBURG
STAFF WRITER
The Record

Private messages between Governor’s Christie’s deputy chief of staff and two of his top executives at the Port Authority reveal a vindictive effort to create “traffic problems in Fort Lee” by shutting lanes to the George Washington Bridge and apparent pleasure at the resulting gridlock.

Read: Email exchanges between Christie administration and Port Authority executives

The messages are replete with references and insults to Fort Lee’s mayor, who had failed to endorse Christie for re-election and they chronicle how they tried to reach Port Authority officials in a vain effort to eliminate the paralyzing gridlock that overwhelmed his town of 35,000 which sits in the shadow of the bridge, the world’s busiest.

The documents obtained by The Record raise serious doubts about months of claims by the Christie administration that the September closures of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were part of a traffic study initiated solely by the Port Authority. Instead, they show that one of the governor’s top aides was deeply involved in the decision to choke off the borough’s access to the bridge, and they provide the strongest indication yet that it was part of a politically-motivated vendetta—a notion that Christie has publicly denied.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie’s senior staff, wrote to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures. Wildstein, the official who ordered the closures and who resigned last month amid the escalating scandal, wrote back: “Got it.”

Other top Christie associates mentioned in or copied on the email chain, all after the top New York appointee at the authority ordered the lanes reopened, include David Samson, the chairman of the agency; Bill Stepien, Christie’s re-election campaign manager and the newly appointed state GOP chairman; and Michael Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman.

Christie has previously said that no one in his staff or campaign was involved in the lane closings, and he has dismissed questions about political retribution by joking that he moved the traffic cones himself.

But the private messages, mostly sent through personal e-mails accounts, indicate that Kelly, a senior staff member in the governor’s office, was involved in the planning and received updates during the week of the traffic jams. She was also informed that week that Christie’s executives at the Port Authority were ignoring the Fort Lee mayor’s desperate attempts to get a reason for the sudden unannounced closures, as the borough’s first responders struggled to respond to emergencies and buses arrived late on the first day of school.

On Sept. 9, the first morning of the lane closures, Kelly asked in an e-mail if Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich’s numerous calls to Port Authority officials had been returned.

“Radio silence,” Wildstein replied. “His name comes right after mayor Fulop,” an apparent reference to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who also said this week that the Christie administration had retaliated against him last year because he didn’t endorse the governor for re-election.


When reached Wednesday morning, Kelly said: “I’m literally in the middle of a conference call. “I’m going to have to call you right back.”

Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the governor, declined to comment Wednesday.

The explosive documents, supplied by Wildstein in response to a subpoena issued by a panel of state lawmakers, don’t spell out the precise reason for the apparent retribution. But they lay bare a disdain for the mayor and an apparent indifference to the hardships suffered by North Jersey residents who sat in four-hour backups. Wildstein has been called to testify about the documents under oath before the panel tomorrow.

In one exchange of text messages on the second day of the lane closures, Wildstein alludes to messages the Fort Lee mayor had left complaining that school buses were having trouble getting through the traffic.

“Is it wrong that I’m smiling,” the recipient of the text message responded to Wildstein. The person’s identity is not clear because the documents are partially redacted for unknown reasons.

“No,” Wildstein wrote in response.

“I feel badly about the kids,” the person replied to Wildstein. “I guess.”

“They are the children of Buono voters,” Wildstein wrote, making a reference to Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate for governor, who lost to Christie in a landslide in November.

The e-mails could prove a serious threat to Christie’s credibility at a time when he has emerged as a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president in 2016. And they are likely to raise questions about whether the governor’s office was involved in what Democrats have said was a coordinated cover-up that has stretched on for months, as damaging details slowly emerge.

The e-mails show that Trenton was aware of the Port Authority’s first public explanation of the sudden lane closures, which was that they were part of a traffic study.

On September 12, the fourth day of the lane closures, Wildstein e-mailed Kelly and Drewniak, a statement that was later issued by the Port Authority in response to inquiries by The Record. That statement read, in part: “The Port Authority is reviewing traffic safety patterns at the George Washington Bridge to ensure proper placement of toll lanes.” Since then, the governor and his representatives have described the closures as a study aimed at seeing if Fort Lee got more than its fair share of access lanes onto the bridge.

“The fact is, I didn’t know Fort Lee got three dedicated lanes until all this stuff happened, and I think we should review that entire policy because I don’t know why Fort Lee needs three dedicated lanes to tell you the truth,” Christie said at a Dec. 13 press conference. “And I didn’t even know it until this whole, you know, happening went about.”

He added later: “The fact that one town has three lanes dedicated to it, that kind of gets me sauced.”

The Port Authority is a bi-state agency jointly steered by the governors of New Jersey and New York.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top executive, Pat Foye, ordered an end to the lane closures after he first found out about them when The Record’s Road Warrior columnist John Cichowski called for an explanation, four days after they began. Foye was not informed of them in advance. Neither were Fort Lee officials or commuters.

At the time of Foye’s reversal, the public knew little about the behind-the-scenes disputes that were unfolding. New Jersey officials fumed, the records show.

On Sept. 13, the day of Foye’s reversal, Wildstein wrote to Kelly: “The New York side gave back Fort Lee all three lanes this morning. We are appropriately going nuts. Samson helping us to retaliate.”

David Samson, a close advisor to Christie who headed the governor’s gubernatorial transition committee four years ago, is the chairman of the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners.

Four days later, as it became clearer that the lane closures were a surprise to local officials and police, the media began asking more questions. Wildstein sent a message to Bill Baroni, the deputy executive directory of the agency who was also appointed by Christie, on the afternoon of Sept. 17 telling him a Wall Street Journal reporter had called him on his cell phone.

“Jesus,” Baroni responded, before advising Wildstein to call Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman.

Christie’s campaign manager exchanged messages with Wildstein the next day, and he blamed the Fort Lee mayor.

“The mayor is an idiot,” Bill Stepien, Christie’s campaign manager, wrote to Wildstein on Sept. 18, in reaction to the Wall Street Journal story about local officials’ complaints.

“When (sic) some, lose some,” Stepien wrote.

Wildstein responded to Stepien: “It will be a tough November for this little Serbian,” an apparent reference to the Fort Lee mayor, who Baroni also referred to as “Serbia” in text messages.

Stepien was promoted earlier this week to chairman of the state Republican Party and is an advisor to the Republican Governors Association, which Christie now leads.

When a media report appeared in early October revealing that Foye, the New York appointee, had privately called the lane closures “abusive” and possibly illegal in an internal e-mail, Wildstein wrote to Stepien again. It was five weeks before the election. “I feel terrible that I’m causing you so much stress this close to November,” Wildstein wrote.

The bridge scandal did not pick up steam until after the election.

Baroni testified in late November, before the same legislative panel leading the investigation, that the lane closures were part of a traffic study. He was not under oath.

Baroni, the records show, was concerned about whether the governor’s office thought he performed well during his testimony on Nov. 25.

“You did great,” Wildstein wrote to Baroni.

“Trenton feedback?” Baroni asked in response.

“Good,” Wildstein responded.

“Just good? Shit.” Baroni replied.

Wildstein later clarified that three people in Trenton, who he referred to only by their first names, thought he did “great.”

Foye and two other Port Authority officials later testified under oath that Wildstein had ordered the closures on short notice, bypassing agency protocol, and that he had instructed a bridge employee to keep it a secret from Fort Lee officials.

Wildstein resigned on Dec. 6, calling the bridge scandal a distraction. Baroni resigned a little more than a week later.

An e-mail shows he had met with Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman two days earlier.

“Thanks again for all your sound advice last night, I always appreciate your friendship,” Wildstein wrote.

“Same to you, David, and thanks for a great dinner,” Drewniak responded.

As Wildstein was announcing his resignation later that week, Drewniak forwarded to Wildstein a statement he was releasing to a Record reporter.

The statement called Wildstein “a tireless advocate for New Jersey’s interests at the Port Authority” and expressed gratitude for his “commitment and dedication.”

Drewniak informed Wildstein that the governor had personally reviewed the statement.

“This was my revised [statement]—which I sent to the Gov and he approved …”

Email: boburg@northjersey.com



Timeline of events

As soon as motorists were stuck in massive traffic jams – blockages that forced Fort Lee and surrounding towns into gridlock for days – many questioned why. The public was told local lanes leading up to the George Washington Bridge were closed as part of a traffic study by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Since then, lawmakers have held hearings, subpoeneaded witnesses and documents and two top appointees have resigned. Governor Christie has faced months of questions about the incident. Here is a timeline of events based on emails, text messages and other documents obtained by The Record as well as public statements by Christie and others.

The timeline was compiled by State House Bureau staff writers Melissa Hayes and John Reitmeyer.

Aug. 13

Bridget Kelly, Governor Christie’s deputy chief of staff for legislative and intergovernmental affairs, used her personal GMAIL account to contact David Wildstein, one of two Christie appointees at the Port Authority. Her e-mail contained one line, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

Wildstein replied back one minute later with two words: “Got it,” according to emails obtained by The Record.

Aug. 28

Wildstein emails Kelly and asks her to call about Fort Lee.

Aug. 30

Kelly responds in an email that she will call him that day.

Sept. 7

Wildstein in an email tells Kelly he will call her Monday to “let you know how Fort Lee goes.”

Sept. 9

Two local access lanes from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge are closed snarling traffic on the first day of school. Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich calls the office of Bill Baroni, the deputy executive director of the Port Authority who was appointed by Christie. Baroni’s special assistant Matthew Bell sends him an email stating in the subject line that Sokolich called with an “urgent matter of public safety in Fort Lee” and includes a phone number where the mayor can be reached.

Baroni sent the email to Wildstein who forwarded it to Kelly, copies obtained by The Record show. Kelly then responded, asking if Baroni called Sokolich. Wildstein replied, “Radio silence. His name comes right after Mayor Fulop.” Kelly responded “Ty,” an abbreviation for thank you.

Wildstein is referring to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. Fulop told The Record on Monday that Christie’s political team approached him about endorsing the governor and after he declined, meetings he had scheduled with 10 state officials were abruptly cancelled. Christie secured the backing of 61 elected Democrats, that bipartisan support coupled with his landslide Election Day victory has catapulted him into the national spotlight as a potential GOP presidential nominee.

Fulop’s allegations come after several people have questioned whether the George Washington Bridge lane closures were political retribution against Sokolich, who also did not endorse Christie. Sokolich has declined to comment about whether he was asked to support the governor.


Sept. 10

Sokolich sent Baroni a text message when the lanes remained closed for a second day.

“Presently we have four very busy traffic lanes merging into only one toll booth,” the text message read according to documents obtained by The Record. “The bigger problem is getting kids to school. Help please. It’s maddening.”

Sept. 12

Wildstein sent an email to Kelly’s personal account and the state email address of Michael Drewniak, Christie’s press secretary, in the afternoon regarding the lane closures in Fort Lee, according to an email obtained by The Record.

“The Port Authority is reviewing traffic safety patterns at the George Washington Bridge to ensure proper placement of toll lanes,” it read. “The PAPD has been in contact with Fort Lee police throughout this transition.”

Three hours later, according to the documents obtained by The Record, Baroni sent a text message which appears to refer to Sokolich: “From Serbia: My frustration is now trying to figure out who is mad at me.” It’s unclear who Baroni was sending the message to. “Serbia” is also used several times in the documents and appears to be a reference to Sokolich.

Sept. 13

The Record’s Road Warrior columnist John Chicowski details the days of traffic nightmares that snarled Fort Lee and the surrounding communities. Commuters waited hours, many giving up in frustration. School busses – heading in for the first days of the new year – were stuck for hours. Police struggled to keep vehicles moving. Emergency crews fought against the man-made tide to ferry patients with the clock ticking and the traffic not moving.

"Other than after the 9/11 attacks, I've never seen such a fiasco of delays at the inbound, upper-level part of the bridge," said Ridgefield's Mildred Van Zwaren who teaches in Upper Manhattan.

Local officials were in the dark. “Normally, we have good relations with the New Jersey command of the Port Authority police," Fort Lee police chief Keith Bendul said,"but they tell us they don't know what's going on either."

In the documents obtained by The Record, Robert Durando, the manager of the George Washington Bridge, forwards an email he received from Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye, a New York appointee, asking that Durando call him. Wildstein responds in an email asking Durando to tell him what Foye says. About 30 minutes later Durando responds: “He asked about the test. He asked why he wasn’t told.”

Wildstein responded that Foye’s staff was aware of the closures and that “bb” – an apparent reference to Baroni – would contact him.

Hours later documents obtained by The Record show that Wildstein sent another email, this one to Kelly, saying “The New York side gave Fort Lee back all three lanes this morning. We are appropriately going nuts. Samson helping us to retaliate.” David Samson is chairman of the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners. Christie appointed him to the board. When Kelly questions the situation Wildstein responds, “Yes, unreal. Fixed now.”

Foye later says at a legislative hearing that the first he learned of the lane closures was when Chichowski called him.

Sept. 17

Baroni sends a text message to Wildstein forwarding a message from Sokolich, who he again refers to as Serbia, according to the documents obtained by The Record. The mayor’s message reads: “We should talk. Someone needs to tell me that the recent traffic debacle was not punitive in nature. The last four reporters that contacted me suggest that the people they are speaking with absolutely believe it to be punishment. Try as I may to dispel these rumors I am having a tough time. A private face-to-face would be important to me. Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to the errors of my ways. Let me know if you’ll give me 10 minutes. Regards Mark.”

Baroni then sends Wildstein another message “Serbia??” apparently asking how he should respond. Wildstein texts back that he has not yet heard from Kelly. He then says he plans to speak with her soon. Baroni suggest they “schedule a meeting to stave off reporters” and they then discuss dates.

Wildstein then tells Baroni that Wall Street Journal reporter Tedd Mann called his cell phone. Baroni replies, “Jesus,” then tells Wildstein to call Drewniak, Christie’s press secretary.

Sept 18

Wildstein sends a story by Mann and Wall Street Journal reporter Heather Haddon questioning the cause of the Fort Lee traffic jam to Christie’s campaign manager Bill Stepien, according to documents obtained by The Record. Stepien replies in an email, “It’s fine. The mayor is an idiot. When [sic] some, lose some.” Wildstein then tells Stepien he was prepared to take empty boxes to his office “just in case” and adds “It will be a tough November for this little Serbian,” apparently referring to Sokolich.

Nov. 21

Baroni sends Wildstein a text message asking for the “exact number of upper level lanes from tomorrow” and Wildstein responds that he will take the George Washington Bridge on his way to.

Nov. 24

Baroni sends Wildstein a text message asking about a toll chart.

Nov. 25

Baroni appears before the Assembly Transportation Committee and tells lawmakers that the lane closures were part of a traffic study. He brings with him a large photograph of the toll plaza which he draws on as he explains that the traffic study was trying to determine whether Fort Lee needed three dedicated access lanes to the bridge.

Later that day Baroni sends Wildstein a text message, asking “Trenton feedback,” according to documents obtained by The Record. When Wildstein tells him “good” Baroni replies, “Just good? Shit.”

Wildstein says he has only sent text messages to Kelly and a woman named Nicole who were “VERY happy.” He adds, “Both said you are doing great” and that someone named Charlie also said Baroni did well.

Oct. 2

Wildstein sends Stepien another story by Mann, this one about Foye being angry over the lane closures, according to documents obtained by The Record. The Wall Street Journal obtained a copy of a letter Foye sent to agency executives Sept. 13 saying he was unaware of the lane closures until he was contacted by the media. The Record questioned officials at the agency about the closures on Sept. 12 for a story that was published the next day. Foye said in his letter that the agency’s processes were “wrongfully subverted and the public interest damaged.”

Stepien replied, “I saw. Ultimately not an awful story. Whatever.” But Wildstein responds raising concern about Foye “messing with us 5 weeks before election.” He says that he and Baroni will be at the State House for a meeting about a train bringing New York City garbage through Westfield and East Brunswick – which he called a “very bad idea” – and said he would talk to Drewniak and Kelly while he is there.

“I feel terrible that I’m causing you so much stress this close to November,” Wildstein wrote in closing to Stepien. Stepien replied that he likes Wildstein better now than he did in 2009, the first time Christie ran for governor. At that time, Wildstein was the anonymous editor of the political blogPolitickernj.com.

Dec. 2

Governor Christie holds a news conference to announce several administrative staffing changes as he heads into a second term, including the elevation of Chief of Staff Kevin O’Dowd to Attorney General. At that time he announced that Kelly would remain as a deputy chief of staff. She had replaced Stepien in that role April when he went to work on the campaign in April.

“Bridget Kelly, who unexpectedly was taken out of the State House today on another commitment, will also stay on as the deputy chief of staff for intergovernmental and legislative affairs, and Bridget has expressed her willingness to continue on in the second term and I’m happy that Bridget will stay onboard as well,” Christie said.

He was asked if he had anything to do with the lane closures and responded with sarcasm:

"I moved the cones, actually, unbeknownst to everybody," he said.

Christie also spoke extensively on Baroni’s earlier explanation that the Port Authority was trying to determine if Fort Lee needed so many access lanes.

“The fact is, I didn’t know Fort Lee got three dedicated lanes until all this stuff happened, and I think we should review that entire policy because I don’t know why Fort Lee needs three dedicated lanes to tell you the truth, and I didn’t even know it until this whole, you know, happening went about, so my urging to the Port Authority is to begin a review of the whole policy. Because I’ve sat in that traffic, before I was governor, at the George Washington Bridge, and the fact that one town has three lanes dedicated to it, that kind of gets me sauced.”

He continued, “I do believe, and I told Chairman Samson this, that we should look at this policy because I don’t know why one town gets three lanes. One lane? Maybe. Three lanes, for one town, I don’t quite get it.”

He also dismissed the Assembly hearings on the issue.

“All of this is politics on the Legislature’s part, they’re just looking for something, you know, that’s what they do.”

Dec. 5:

Wildstein sends Drewniak an email on his personal account thanking him for his “sound advice last night,” adding, “I always appreciate your friendship,” according to documents obtained by The Record. He also writes that he spoke to state Sen. Kevin O’Toole, an ally of the governor’s, and that the senator would speak to Drewniak later in the day.

Drewniak thanks Wildstein for “a great dinner” in an email, according to the documents obtained by The Record.

Dec. 6

Wildstein announces he will resign from his position at the Port Authority at the end of the year.

Drewniak forwards Wildstein a statement he sent to Record reporter Shawn Boburg for a story about the resignation. Drewniak called Wildstein “a tireless advocate for New Jersey’s interest at the Port Authority.” In his email, which was obtained by The Record, Drewniak tells Wilstein that his revised statement, which was approved by Christie.

Dec. 9

The Assembly Transportation Committee holds a hearing on the lane closures, which Foye and Durando testify at. During the hearing Durando says he was ordered by Wildstein to circumvent longstanding protocols, which called for local officials to be notified of traffic studies and lane closures. He said he thought Wildstein’s directive was wrong but that he feared the consequences of defying one of Christie’s appointees.

Dec. 13

Christie announces that Baroni was resigning and that Wildstein would leave his position immediately. Christie is asked whether the lane closures were related to Sokolich and political retaliation.

“He was not somebody that was on my radar screen in any way, politically, professionally, or in any other way until these stories came out in the aftermath of the closing,” Christie said. “So the answer is absolutely unequivocally not.”

Dec.19

During another State house news conference, Christie discussed the bridge issue and claims that it was politically motivated. He again dismissed them.

“I don’t ever remember even meeting the mayor of Fort Lee and I certainly don’t remember getting any briefings at any time from the campaign staff that this was someone who was on our radar screen as a potential endorsement so that’s why none of this makes any sense to me. I think in the end what it will be shown to be is just rank speculation from folks who want to play political games.”

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Emails link top Christie aide to GWB lane-closing controversy
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