Political, Legal Pressures Tighten For Christie
Political and legal pressures are tightening on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie following a former aide's claim Christie knew of the George Washington Bridge closing scandal last September.
Over the weekend, Christie and his aides denied the claim by David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority of a New York and New Jersey. Wildstein released his claim of evidence via an attorney in an attempt to win immunity from prosecution.
Wildstein is shown at right along with former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly. Christie has called his fired staff "stupid" and "callous" as the governor blamed them for the four-day closing of two access ramps in Fort Lee, NJ. The closings created a massive tie-up in the borough and on the bridge, which connects New Jersey and Upper Manhattan.
Christie has argued that he was too busy to know about the ramp closing, ostensibly for a "traffic study" that staffers have yet to produce.
Christie's stance has prompted the parody at left modeled on the Hogan's Heroes TV character Sgt. Schultz and his saying, "I know nothing!"
New York Times reporter Kate Zernicke wrote a story Jan. 31 headlined, Christie Knew About Bridge Lane Closings. She reported that Wildstein, a high school friend of Christie’s, said it was “the Christie administration’s order” to close the lanes. She reported also that Wildstein alleges “evidence exists, as well, tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” three weeks ago.
Update: In February, the Washington Post and New Republic reported the kind of scandal we have been sharing here for more than four years in, Chris Christie’s long record of pushing boundaries, sparking controversy and Chris Christie's Entire Career Reeks It's not just the bridge. Separately, see Governor Rod Blagojevich's Defense Attorney Compares Chris Christie's Situation to Blago's... and It's Not Pretty by Rob Kall at OpEdNews.
Meanwhile, Harvard Law School professor and political pundit Alan Dershowitz told the conservative site Newsmax,"The Dominoes Are Beginning to Fall' for Christie." In an interview with reporter Todd Beamon, Dershowitz said Christie needlessly insulted Wildstein at a Dec. 13 news conference.
"Gov. Christie really made his stupid mistake by treating Wildstein the way he did," Dershowitz said. "He provoked him. Christie showed his total ineptness when he said what he said about Wildstein at the press conference."
For years, the Justice Integrity Project has reported on Christie's abuse of office. In such columns as, Christie's Corruption Case Shows Horrid Legacy of 'Loyal Bushies,' Cover-ups, we have revealed his methods of using his post as New Jersey's U.S. attorney to reward his friends, punish his enemies, and launch his successful gubernatorial campaign in 2009.
Christie, a Republican, was succeeded by an interim U.S. attorney, Ralph Marra, and then by Paul Fishman, shown at right. Christie hired Marra for a state job as one of a dozen former federal prosecution staffers to receive such Christie appointments, thereby underscoring the appearance of cronyism and other bias in the justice system by showing that prosecution staff benefited from his election.
Fishman and what remained of the office staff helped Christie keep up his crime-fighting image by continuing even their dubious prosecutions for the most part.
But Fishman has launched an investigation of the bridge closing and related matters. So has a New Jersey State Assembly committee. Some Republicans and even neutral observers are now crying foul. Only those who also protested Christie's over-zealousness, however, should have any credibility on such a claims.
Former New Jersey State Assemblyman Louis Manzo is completing a book on Christie due for publication this spring, Ruthless Ambition: The Rise and Fall of Chris Christie. [Editor's note: This book title changed after this column appeared.]
In an interview over the weekend, Manzo said Christie's position is deteriorating faster than anyone could have suspected.
Previous Justice Integrity Project Columns
Justice Integrity Project, Christie Faces Probes, Smears Like He Inflicted On Foes, Andrew Kreig, Jan. 20, 2014. Misconduct allegations mounted over the weekend against embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie despite his attempt to blame the George Washington Bridge scandal on underlings. New Jersey's U.S. Attorney office met Jan. 19 for several hours with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer regarding her claim against two top Christie aides. Zimmer has alleged that the aides threatened last spring to hinder federal relief for her city's Hurricane Sandy damage unless she supported Christie's picks among Wall Street investors for a Hoboken redevelopment plan.
Justice Integrity Project, How Christie’s Bridge Scandal Helps Jeb Bush Win in 2016, Andrew Kreig, Jan. 12, 2014. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is a big winner so far in the political scandal and cover-up engulfing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Justice Integrity Project, Court Slaps Feds Again For Christie-Era NJ Prosecutions, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 21, 2011. In a major setback for the U.S. Justice Department and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a federal appeals court last week dismissed federal bribery and conspiracy charges against two New Jersey Democrats targeted in a trap set by Christie. Our non-partisan Justice Integrity Project has repeatedly pointed to the 46-defendant “Bid Rig III” case as one of the nation’s most scandalous political prosecutions of recent years.
OpEdNews, Christie's Corruption Case Shows Horrid Legacy of 'Loyal Bushies,' Cover-ups, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 3, 2010. The Justice Department this week resumed its massive New Jersey political corruption "Bid Rig III" case with a trial that continues the self-inflicted damage from its 2006 political purge of U.S. attorneys.
Related News Coverage
Christie Administration Bridge Scandal
Stone Zone, Chris Christie and the Wild Man, Roger Stone (at left with his much-admired leader, Richard Nixon), Feb. 3, 2014. "Admit nothing, deny everything and launch counter attack" is one of Stone's Rules, maxims for the conduct of political warfare that I have adopted based on a thirty year career in the corroded rectum of the two party system. It seems New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is utilizing my advice now that Port Authority Aide David Wildstein has threatened to dime the big man himself in the decision to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge as political payback. In an extraordinary e-mail widely "leaked" by the Governor's office on Saturday, Wildstein was depicted in essence as an erratic, irresponsible madman. Why then was Wildstein hired at $150K a year to be Christie's enforcer and hatchet man at the PA? If he's so nuts, so crazy, so irresponsible how did he get this PLUM job? Christie's leaked manifesto doesn't seem to address these questions. When I asked a high level PA Executive I knew two years ago how Wildstein got hired I was told, "Chris Christie."
Main Justice, Supporting Cast in Christie Scandals: Former New Jersey Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Mary Jacoby, Feb. 6, 2014. When Chris Christie took office as New Jersey governor in 2010, he staffed his administration heavily with former prosecutors from the US Attorney's office he ran as a George W. Bush appointee from 2002 to 2008. It's an extraordinary development that many of those former federal prosecutors are now popping up as players in the scandals now swirling around the governor.
New Republic, Chris Christie's Entire Career Reeks It's not just the bridge, Alex MacGillis, Feb. 12, 2014. Has there ever been a political reversal of fortune as rapid and as absolute as the one just experienced by Chris Christie? even post-Bridgegate, the prevailing interpretations of Christie fundamentally miss the mark. He has been so singularly successful at constructing his own mythology—as a reformer, a crusader, a bipartisan problem-solver—that people have never really seen him clearly. Over the past three months, I talked to more than 50 people who have crossed paths with Christie throughout his career—legislators, officials, Democrats, Republicans, lawyers, longtime New Jersey politicos. (Christie himself didn’t respond to a detailed request for comment.) The problem with Christie isn’t merely that he is a bully. It’s that his political career is built on a rotten foundation. Christie owes his rise to some of the most toxic forces in his state—powerful bosses who ensure that his vow to clean up New Jersey will never come to pass. He has allowed them to escape scrutiny, rewarded them for their support, and punished their enemies. All along, even as it looked like Christie was attacking the machine, he was really just mastering it.
OpEdNews, Governor Rod Blagojevich's Defense Attorney Compares Chris Christie's Situation to Blago's... and It's Not Pretty, Rob Kall, Feb. 4, 2014. I interviewed Sam Adam Jr., left, rated one of the top 100 defense attorneys in America, who defended former governor Rod Blagojevich he first time he was tried. I asked him to compare the Blagojevich case with Chris Christie's situation. He did, discussing how the case would be approached by defense and prosecution, and discussing advantages and disadvantages Christie has. Attorney Adam started off commenting, "I see Chris Christie having a lot of problems now under mail and wire fraud, maybe a RICO statutes as well coming down the line." I asked, "What about the criminality of Bridgegate?" Blagojevich defense attorney Adam answered, "Well the truth of the matter is there are so many laws on the books that you can get anybody for anything if you want to. Here is an individual who also is involved with a law firm that was being used to lobby on behalf of the Rockefeller Group. Now the Rockefeller Group is trying to develop in Hoboken, and he and his firm were out there lobbying for that group."
Washington Post, How Chris Christie is screwing this up, Chris Cillizza, Feb. 3, 2014. From the time Bridge-gate broke — lo these three weeks ago! — we've generally thought that Chris Christie has handled himself well. And then, over the weekend, Christie's team released a memo entitled "5 things You Should Know About the Bombshell That's Not a Bombshell." Wrong move. The memo, which you can read in its entirety here, starts off okay. It's when Christie gets to point #4 in the memo that he starts to go way off track.
Washington Post, Christie and Romney, a GOP odd couple, Dan Balz, Christie's problems have sparked strange talk about a Romney campaign in 2016. Fortunes change quickly in politics.
New York Times, Christie Knew About Bridge Lane Closings, Kate Zernicke, Jan. 31, 2014. The former Port Authority official who personally oversaw the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge in the scandal now swirling around Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said on Friday that the governor knew about the lane closings when they were happening, and that he had the evidence to prove it. In a letter released by his lawyer, the official, David Wildstein, a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge, described the order to close the lanes as “the Christie administration’s order” and said “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” three weeks ago.
Newsmax, Dershowitz: 'The Dominoes Are Beginning to Fall' for Christie, Todd Beamon, Jan. 31, 2014. Alan Dershowitz, right, told Newsmax on Friday "the dominoes are beginning to fall" in the spiraling bridge-gate scandal engulfing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and said "I think he hasn't told the whole truth and is in trouble." The U.S. attorney should now subpoena the documents that were referred to in the letter and should sit down and talk to the governor," the former Harvard Law School professor said in an exclusive interview. "The governor so far has not spoken to law enforcement nor has he spoken under oath, so legally, he can lie all he wants," Dershowitz said. "He's not obliged to tell the truth. Politically, he may be obliged to tell the truth, but legally he's not. "But once he sits down and talks to law enforcement, he has to tell the truth, otherwise he can be prosecuted for a crime."
Huffington Post, Wolff & Samson, Firm At Heart Of Christie Controversy, Has Had An Ally In The Governor, Andrew Perez and Christina Wilkie, Jan. 30, 2014. When the New Jersey-based industrial giant Honeywell Industries threatened to move its headquarters in 2010 unless the state doled out millions of dollars in tax incentives, the company did what many of New Jersey's biggest corporate players do -- it hired the law and lobbying firm Wolff & Samson to press its case. Honeywell paid Wolff & Samson $80,000 in lobbying fees in 2010 to lobby agencies like the Economic Development Authority. It paid off.
MSNBC, Christie camp held Sandy relief money hostage, mayor alleges, Steve Kornacki, Jan. 18, 2014. Two senior members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration warned a New Jersey mayor earlier this year that her town would be starved of hurricane relief money unless she approved a lucrative redevelopment plan favored by the governor, according to the mayor and emails and personal notes she shared with msnbc. The mayor, Dawn Zimmer, hasn’t approved the project, but she did request $127 million in hurricane relief for her city of Hoboken – 80% of which was underwater after Sandy hit in October 2012. What she got was $142,000 to defray the cost of a single back-up generator plus an additional $200,000 in recovery grants. In an exclusive interview, Zimmer broke her silence and named Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, Christie’s community affairs commissioner, as the two officials who delivered messages on behalf of a governor she had long supported. “The bottom line is, 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,” she said Saturday on UP w/ Steve Kornacki. “… I know it’s very complicated for the public to really understand all of this, but I have a legal obligation to follow the law, to bring balanced development to Hoboken.” Christie, who sailed to re-election last year and has made no secret of his presidential ambitions, has denied any knowledge of the plot that shut down lanes at the foot of the George Washington Bridge, one of the most heavily trafficked in the country. His office and several former senior aides are currently the subject of a number of federal and state inquiries into what has become known as “Bridge-gate.”
Washington Post, N.J. Democrats saw potential upside of a nod to Christie, Carol D. Leonnig, Matea Gold and Rosalind S. Helderman, Jan. 18, 2014. Mayors who endorsed the governor’s reelection said they felt doing so would benefit their communities in the pursuit of Sandy relief aid and other state support
Washington Post, Documents show coverup in N.J. traffic shutdown, Philip Rucker and Aaron Blake, Jan. 10, 2014. Gov. Chris Christie’s lieutenants worked furiously to hide the apparent act of political retaliation, though the documents do not directly implicate the governor. Read the documents released Friday. The Fix: 5 big unanswered questions. By our count, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie answered 94(!) questions over a nearly two-hour press conference Thursday focused on his administration's push to cause a traffic jam in Fort Lee as a measure of political payback. Still, there are plenty of questions that either didn't get asked or Christie couldn't (or wouldn't) answer. Here's five.
Christian Science Monitor, Chris Christie is learning who his friends are. And his enemies, Peter Grier, Jan. 9, 2014. Gov. Chris Christie's George Washington Bridge scandal is not taking a toll, so far, on his political support among establishment Republicans or even moderates. But the 2016 presidential race is just ramping up. The George Washington Bridge scandal is a big problem for Chris Christie, obviously. It’s damaging his reputation as a take-charge administrator and has made him the subject of days of pointed political jokes. If it turns out he had any foreknowledge that his aides were creating traffic jams in Fort Lee, N.J., by blocking bridge access lanes, his electoral career may be dry and crumbly toast. (He says he had no idea what was happening, and there’s no hard evidence indicating otherwise.)
Washington Post, Christie apologizes for scandal, fires deputy chief of staff, ousts top political aide, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, Jan. 9, 2014. A contrite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie apologized Thursday for a scandal that threatens his political future, announcing that he had fired a senior aide and banished his top campaign adviser for their roles in days of traffic jams orchestrated to punish a small-city Democratic mayor. Christie at once accepted responsibility as the state’s chief executive but also insisted he had no involvement in shutting down a pair of access lanes to the heavily trafficked George Washington Bridge over four days in early September. The Republican governor said he was “blindsided” by this week’s release of e-mails and text messages detailing his office’s role in the plot to create severe gridlock in Fort Lee, N.J. Earlier report: Christie said he was “embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my staff.” Christie said he had fired deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly, (shown at left with David Wildstein, another Christie appointee), one of the aides apparently responsible for the closure, and has told Bill Stepien, his 2013 campaign manager, not to apply to become state party chairman or to work with the Republican Governors Association, which Christie is taking over.
Huffington Post, Chris Christie Denies Knowledge Of Bridge Payback Scheme, Amanda Terkel, Jan. 8, 2014. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) denied any involvement in a political payback scheme carried out by some of his top aides on Wednesday, saying the whole thing was "inappropriate and unsanctioned." The emails released Wednesday showed that Christie's deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, deliberately plotted to wreak havoc on Fort Lee, N.J., once it became clear that the borough's mayor, Democrat Mark Sokolich, wasn't going to publicly back Christie in his reelection bid.
TPM Livewire, N.J. Senate Majority Leader Says Criminal Charges May Come In Bridge Scandal, Hunter Walker, Jan. 8, 2014. New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D) said Wednesday she thinks criminal charges may come in the growing scandal over last September's lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. Weinberg's comments came after TPM and other news outlets obtained emails and other communications that showed one of Gov. Chris Christie's (R) closest aides was involved in the discussions of the lane closures weeks before they took place. Democrats, including Weinberg, have alleged that the closures were ordered in an effort to snarl traffic in nearby Fort Lee, N.J. in retaliation for the Democratic mayor there not endorsing Christie's reelection bid. When asked if she thought criminal charges were possible based on the new revelations, Weinberg replied: "Yes."
Huffington Post, New Jersey Lane Closures Delayed Emergency Response To 91-Year-Ol d Woman Who Later Died: Report, Mollie Reilly, Jan. 8, 2014. Emergency response teams were reportedly delayed in traffic caused by lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September, including one vehicle responding to a 91-year-old woman in cardiac arrest who later died. The lane closures and its resulting gridlock, which created major problems for New Jersey commuters, have become a political headache for Gov. Chris Christie (R), who has maintained that he had nothing to do with the decision to close the lanes. According to a letter from EMS coordinator Paul Favia to Fort Lee, N.J. Mayor Mark Sokolich obtained by the Bergen Record, at least four emergency vehicles were stuck in traffic caused by the unannounced lane closures, doubling response time in at least two of the cases.
Wall Street Journal, Justice Goes After the GOP, Harvey Silverglate, left, Jan. 30, 2014. Investigating Chris Christie's administration, indicting another prominent Republican. Is it political? Is Eric Holder's Justice Department driven by a political agenda, or are the department's recent prosecutorial decisions simply signs of over-zealousness? The Justice Department has focused on two prominent Republicans, announcing a corruption indictment of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and launching an active and very public criminal investigation into the antics of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration. In doing so, federal prosecutors have created at least the appearance that they are targeting two men who have been touted as plausible candidates for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
New York Times, For Christie, Politics Team Kept a Focus on Two Races, Kate Zernike, and David W. Chenjan, Jan. 29, 2014. His campaign called them “the Top 100,” the swing towns that Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey wanted to win as he prepared for a re-election campaign. Capturing these towns, sometimes referred to as mini-Ohios or mini-Floridas, would validate the governor’s argument that he would be the most broadly appealing Republican choice for president in 2016. Capturing these towns, sometimes referred to as mini-Ohios or mini-Floridas, would validate the governor’s argument that he would be the most broadly appealing Republican choice for president in 2016. His campaign called them “the Top 100,” the swing towns that Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey wanted to win as he prepared for a re-election campaign. Capturing these towns, sometimes referred to as mini-Ohios or mini-Floridas, would validate the governor’s argument that he would be the most broadly appealing Republican choice for president in 2016.
Washington Post, For 2016, Hillary Clinton has commanding lead over Democrats, GOP race wide open, Philip Rucker and Scott Clement, Jan. 29, 2014. Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, holds a commanding 6 to 1 lead over other Democrats heading into the 2016 presidential campaign, while the Republican field is deeply divided with no clear front-runner, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Clinton trounces her potential primary rivals with 73 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, reinforcing a narrative of inevitability around her nomination if she runs. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was at or near the top of the Republican field in many public opinion surveys last year, is in third place — with the support of 13 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents — behind Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) with 20 percent and former Florida governor Jeb Bush at 18 percent.
Washington Post, Christie’s bridge scandal and the muddled search for a GOP nominee, Dan Balz, Jan. 11, 2014. The bridge scandal that has engulfed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has also brought more disruption to the already-muddled early stages of the Republican Party’s search for a 2016 presidential nominee. Republicans appear headed for the most wide-open and unpredictable nomination campaign in decades. A power struggle is underway between the party’s establishment and insurgent wings — the business elite and the populist tea party factions. No one is certain what the balance of power in the party will be when the primaries and caucuses begin. After his reelection in November, Christie became the closest thing to a genuine 2016 front-runner for the Republican nomination, at least among the party establishment and elite donors. His victory margin in a blue state and his strong numbers in the Hispanic community were interpreted as evidence that he could help Republicans capture territory that has eluded them in the past two presidential campaigns. Now, he is struggling to prove that the qualities that made him so attractive to so many Republicans — blunt talk and tough leadership — have not created a climate of fear and retribution inside his administration that may have led to the bridge scandal.
Christian Science Monitor, Chris Christie for president? 15 Republicans who might run next time (+video), Linda Feldmann, Jan. 10 updated through Feb. 10, 2014. Mitt who? The 2012 presidential election had barely ended when jockeying by Republicans began for 2016. The GOP has a history of nominating people who have run before, which could give heart to some familiar faces. But there’s also a crop of first-timers with evident ambition, including the in-your-face governor of New Jersey and a libertarian-leaning senator from Kentucky. Here's the latest lineup, with updates through Feb. 10, 2014. 1. Chris Christie to 11. Jon Huntsman.
OpEdNews, Christie's Apology and Firings Are Not Good Enough, Rob Kall, Jan. 9, 2014. Chris Christie's has fired key people and apologized. That's not good enough. It's not good enough because Christie put the people who conspired to punish political opponents into power. Christie gave them the free rein and trust to operate independently. The abuses of the citizenry happened because of the decisions and judgment made by Chris Christie. He says that the behavior and language used in the emails was not acceptable. But he created the milieu. He formed the team. He set the values and guidelines. This abuse of power fulminated out of a culture of contempt and arrogance, of nastiness and meanness that did not just pop out of nowhere. Christie says he was told it was a traffic study. We don't know if he knew or not. We don't know if he is lying. It doesn't matter. Leaders are accountable. Christie says, "I delegate enormous authority to my staff... I do not manage in that kind of micro way." This is a confession of guilt. This is an acknowledgement that his style of leadership produced this shameful behavior.
Washington Post, Bridge scandal threatens to mar Christie’s image, Philip Rucker and Aaron Blake, Jan. 8, 2014. The forced traffic jams as apparent political payback have thrown a cloud of scandal over Chris Christie, the GOP’s leading 2016 presidential hopeful. A series of e-mails and text messages disclosed Wednesday show that a senior aide and appointees of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie forced days of traffic jams as apparent political retribution against a Democratic mayor, throwing a cloud of scandal over the Republican Party’s leading 2016 presidential hopeful.
Other Christie Scandals and Alleged Scandals
Washington Post, Chris Christie’s long record of pushing boundaries, sparking controversy, Carol Morello and Carol D. Leonnig, Feb. 10, 2014. As the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey, Chris Christie struck an unusual deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb. In exchange for not charging the drugmaking giant with securities fraud, Christie’s office would require it to fund a professorship at Seton Hall University’s law school — Christie’s alma mater. The $5 million gift, one component of a larger agreement between the company and prosecutors, was hailed by the school, in South Orange, N.J., as a cornerstone of its new center on business ethics. In Washington, however, Christie’s superiors in the George W. Bush administration were uneasy about it, worried that it could look to the public like a U.S. attorney using his authority to benefit a pet cause.
OpEd News, Chris Christie's Many Tales From the Dark Side, Jerry Policoff, Jan. 21, 2014. Chris Christie has burst onto the national scene in recent years. Despite having many critics and detractors he has become something of a darling of the mainstream media, and is viewed by many as a potential successful Republican candidate for the presidency. A close look at Chris Christie's career reveals a pattern of entitlement, bullying, vindictiveness, and a disturbing lack of respect for ethics and the rule of law. The Bridge scandal is wholly consistent with Christie's past behavior, and renders his denials less than credible. Only his defensive posture seems to have changed, and perhaps that should be seen as a sign that he fears his past ability to deflect criticism out of sheer bluster and arrogance may finally be wearing thin.
WNYC / NJPR, Mayors: Was Christie Getting Revenge on Me, Too? Sarah Gonzalez, Jan. 10, 2014. Mayors in New Jersey say they're starting to consider foul play on behalf of the Christie administration in light of the George Washington Bridge lane closure controversy. Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer says she had a face to face visit with Governor Christie in the Spring, when he asked her to endorse him for re-election. She told him she would be remaining neutral. “He was quite disappointed, but I wouldn't say that he was angry. He was disappointed and said he would keep asking,” Zimmer said. "And I said, 'We can keep the conversation going but I don't expect to be changing my position.’ And I didn't.” She had applied for a Hazard Mitigation Grant to protect Hoboken from flooding. During Sandy, 80 percent of the city was under water.
Jersey Journal, Federal judge dismisses all charges against former Jersey City Assemblyman, Michaelangelo Conte, Feb. 17, 2012. A federal judge today dismissed all charges against former Jersey City Assemblyman Lou Manzo. In a stunning blow to federal prosecutors, a federal judge in Newark has dismissed all charges against former Jersey City assemblyman Lou Manzo, one of 44 people arrested in the massive corruption sweep of July 2009. In a 60-page ruling released today, Judge Jose Linares granted Manzo’s motion to dismiss all counts in his indictment. Manzo is accused of accepting more than $20,000 from a government informant, Solomon Dwek, who was posing as a developer seeking favors. Manzo, who was not an elected official at the time, but was running for mayor of Jersey City, was charged with two counts of extortion of under the Hobbs Act and two counts of violating the Travel Act, meaning he crossed state lines to commit a crime.
Jersey Journal, Former Jersey City council candidate argues federal prosecutors targeted her because she's a Democrat, Terrence T. McDonald, March 21, 2012. Lawyers for Lori Serrano, the Jersey City City Council candidate arrested in the 2009 corruption sweep, argue in a new court filing that Serrano’s mail-fraud indictment should be dismissed, saying the U.S. Attorney’s Office discriminated against her because she is a Democrat.Serrano, and other Operation Bid Rig III defendants, were arrested and prosecuted so Gov. Chris Christie, the former U.S. Attorney and then gubernatorial candidate, could gain an “unfair advantage” over Democrats in the 2009 state election, the March 19 motion reads.
New York Times, As Escapees Stream Out, a Penal Business Thrives, A company with deep ties to Gov. Chris Christie dominates New Jersey’s system of large halfway houses. There has been little state oversight, despite widespread problems, Sam Dolnick, June 16, 2012. A company with deep ties to Gov. Chris Christie dominates New Jersey’s system of large halfway houses. There has been little state oversight, despite widespread problems, the New York Times found. After decades of tough criminal justice policies, states have been grappling with crowded prisons that are straining budgets. In response to those pressures, New Jersey has become a leader in a national movement to save money by diverting inmates to a new kind of privately run halfway house.
North Jersey Com, Christie urges media to 'take the bat' to Senator Weinberg on pension issue, Elise Young, April 13, 2011. Governor Christie told reporters Wednesday to “take the bat” to 76-year-old Sen. Loretta Weinberg for collecting a taxpayer-funded pension while making $49,000 a year as a legislator.