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Reposted from Animal Nuz by ericlewis0

From the AP, via

NEWARK, New Jersey — There's a new explanation from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on a two-year-old vote by its chairman that has raised questions of a possible conflict of interest.

Port Authority board meeting minutes from February 2012 reflect chairman David Samson voting to approve a favorable lease extension for a New Jersey Transit park-and-ride lot. Samson's law firm represented NJ Transit. This week, a Port Authority lawyer sent a letter to Samson saying a review showed Samson meant to recuse himself from the vote but that the vote was mis-recorded.

The Record newspaper reported ( ) Friday that the Port Authority now says the vote was actually taken by an operations committee because not enough board members were present.

Meeting minutes from the Feb. 9, 2012 board meeting were formally adopted at the Port Authority's meeting the next month. They show that six board members, including Samson, voted to approve the NJ Transit deal.
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Reposted from middlegirl by ericlewis0
In his latest townhall, Chris Christie tried to resort to his old style of working the room. This time his ability to charm, deflect, intimidate and obfuscate didn't have that same old Christie magic. Here's why: people are no longer afraid and they are pissed.
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Reposted from Christian Dem in NC by Christian Dem in NC

Well, that didn't take long.  On Sunday morning, MSNBC's Steve Kornacki revealed evidence that a Port Authority police lieutenant drove David Wildstein through Fort Lee's snarled-up streets on the first day of the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge.  Just hours after that report, Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye ordered an internal investigation into that cop's actions.

The probe will focus on reports that Port Authority Police Lt. Thomas "Chip" Michaels, a 15-year department veteran and member of the GWB unit, chauffeured David Wildstein through clogged Fort Lee streets on Sept. 9, the first of four days of closures, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Wildstein is the former Christie-backed Port Authority official who ordered the closure of two of three local-access lanes from Fort Lee to the bridge.

"The executive director has ordered the chief to review Michaels’ actions," the source said.

Foye gave the order to Chief Louis Koumoutsos in response to a MSNBC report that Michaels drove Wildstein around the borough. MSNBC also reported that Michaels is from Livingston, where Wildstein and Christie also grew up, and that Michaels coached Christie’s son in a youth hockey league.

In yet another case of exceptional timing, it seems that Michaels and the rest of the Port Authority police's bridge detail were aware of the closures before Foye knew about them.  According to The (Newark) Star-Ledger, Michaels' boss, bridge detail commander Darcy Licorish, found out about the planned closures on September 2 and emailed Koumoustos and the department's assistant chiefs about it.  He was very concerned about their impact on traffic--but neither he nor anyone else alerted Foye about their concerns.  On September 8, Michaels emailed Licorish to confirm that the closures were still a go.  As we already know, Michaels and Wildstein were texting furiously before they met on September 9.

If Michaels doesn't have a lawyer already, he better get one and fast.

Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. by pierre9045

Yesterday I summarized the sworn testimony of Patrick Foye as to lack of any evidence for any legitimate Traffic Study at Fort Lee; nor was there even any legitimate need for such a study, according to this NY Chief Executive of the Port Authority (given the traffic load numbers he presented).

Today, I will take a look at the dodging and posturing, that occurred only a few weeks early before the same NJ Committee, as performed by Chris Chistie appointee, Senator Bill Baroni. Also of interest, is the immediate end-zone celebrating by the Christie 'insider crew' -- after this fast-talking presentation by Baroni -- which was prior to the Patrick Foye hammer, yet to fall into the "Traffic Study" evidence mix.

Bill Baroni's testimony today on GWB lane closure: "Smug" and "the dog ate my homework"

by Rosi Efthim, -- Nov 25, 2013

The NJ Assembly Transportation Committee requested that several top execs of the Port Authority come before it, and answer their questions about the sudden lane closures on the GWB, and 5-day dangerous traffic snarl that caused. But in the end, only one showed up. Port Authority sent its Jersey politician, Bill Baroni -- Christie appointee, Deputy ED, and the highest ranking Jersey bureaucrat in the joint.

It did not go well. Chair John Wisniewski complimented Baroni on his ability to dance past direct questions, and called him smug. Linda Stender got into a shouting match with him. And Senator Loretta Weinberg, who represents Fort Lee, the town that figures into both the massive traffic jam and allegedly its reason, says the explanation amounted to  "the dog ate my homework."

Baroni, who came with props, but not copies of the traffic study he says was the reason for the closures, blames miscommunication. And officials are ready to call him on that. Weinberg has drafted a  FOIA request for documentation for the "so-called traffic study," including the authorization and role of PA officials in the chain of command. And she warns the authority can't "lawyer up" to refuse to comply. She is particularly unimpressed with Baroni's claim of lack of communication. Complete failure to notify other PA officials, the affected towns, and the public is "an understatement, she says, "that falls far short of credibility." Weinberg attended a Port Authority Commission meeting a few days ago; officials initially tried to keep her out of the room.

Lawmakers Hold Hearing on GWB Lane Closures

link to video

Published on Nov 25, 2013

Lawmakers held a hearing about a five-day lane closure on the George Washington Bridge in September. Some believe the closures were deliberate because the Fort Lee mayor chose not to endorse Gov. Chris Christie for reelection. For more New Jersey news, visit NJTV News online at

Baroni Testimony

link to video

Published on Nov 25, 2013  -- No Description.

Never mind that -- Fort Lee has the appropriate number of lanes (3 of 12), for their proportion of interstate traffic, when you include the traffic from the surrounding communities that egress there -- "about 25 percent to 26 percent of the traffic" according to the sworn testimony of the Port Authority NJ Chief Executive, Patrick Foye.

Never mind that --

Baroni was the authority's deputy executive director at the time of his testimony, which was not under oath. He was also the authority's top executive appointed by Christie.

Baroni resigned three weeks after testifying, following sworn testimony by authority Executive Director Patrick Foye and other authority officials.

They said there was no study, the closures were unlawful and Baroni and David Wildstein, who ordered them, had violated protocols and sought to hide their plans from officials.

WSJ: Christie ally prepped official before bridge testimony -- Feb. 3, 2014

Despite the obvious obstruction of justice, that Baroni's "un-sworn" and "well-coached" testimony represented in actual fact -- the hubris-filled Christie Administration, initially interpreted that "blatantly false" testimony -- as a HUGE WIN ... for their side.  

Or so they told their good-soldier Bill ...

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Reposted from HoundDog by pierre9045

May I call your attention to Joe Coscarelli's amusing observations in a New York Magazine article, Chris Christie Betrayed by Staff Again? Coscarelli may have discovered why Chris Christie is such a sad fellow.

According to Chris Christie, the entire bridge scandal happened because "completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge." In the course of damage control, however, his staff continues to make ill-advised decisions without his knowledge. From Politico's check-in this afternoon with Christie's "mood": "The memo from Gov. Chris Christie’s office attacking former appointee David Wildstein’s credibility landed with a thud. It was a striking and deeply personal broadside coming from a chief executive of a state, and even his allies called it a mistake."
But, according to two people who claim to know, the governor didn't see the "5 Things You Should Know About The Bombshell That's Not A Bombshell," memo ahead of time.

And yet, Politico reports, "Christie's aides did not run the document ... by the governor before they sent it out, according to two people familiar with the matter. Instead, someone tucked the high school lines into a daily briefing email to the governor's supporters, and blasted it out earlier than planned. Another round of unflattering news coverage ensued." Why are Christie's people so intent on continuing to make him look bad? If only the governor could get his rogue staff under control enough to ask.

This is yet another example of a Governor in way over his head, with too many distractions to stay focused on the important work. Yet, he continues to make weekly forays to other states to fund raise, through back doors, for the RGA when no politicians in any state, so far, want to be seen with him. Or, more likely, a sign of how deep of a hole Christie has dug for himself as he tries to lie his way out of a dead end, and criminal indictment.  Time will tell.


When Chris Christie says he didn't know do you think:

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Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. by pierre9045

Patrick Foye was subpoenaed to appear. He did so willingly. He did so seriously. Unlike some of his associates from his workplace -- this unique Intrastate Agency with quite the sizable budget:

your budget is bigger than 26 U.S. states
according the Chairman of that investigation committee, NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (on pg 190).

The testimony of Patrick Foye starts on page 140 of this Document, which is the transcript of Committee Meeting of the Assembly Transportation, Public Works And Independent Authorities Committee (NJ), which happened on December 9, 2013.

Patrick Foye provided his testimony, without the benefit of an attorney present, as was his right. As was explained to him here:

ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI: Do you understand that you have certain rights under the Code of Fair Procedure, including the right to be accompanied by counsel who would be permitted to confer with you during the questioning, and advise you of your rights, and submit proposed questions on your behalf?

MR. FOYE: Yes, sir.

So without further introductory-setup, here are some of the more interesting highlights, from the sworn testimony to that NJ Committee, from Patrick Foye, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (appointed by New York Governor, to his 'top dog', "the buck stops here" position.)

[pg 144]

MR. FOYE: [...]

Regarding the decision to restrict access from local roads in Fort Lee from three lanes to one, let me start by laying out the standards we employ when a traffic alteration is contemplated at any of our facilities. First: Written sign-off by the Tunnels, Bridges, and Terminals Department, as well as by Traffic Engineering and the Port Authority Police Department. Second: Prior discussion with the local governments and host communities, a communications plan, and plenty of advance notice to the commuting public. Third: Consideration of the effects on emergency vehicles. And fourth: Consideration of the financial impact on the Port Authority in terms of additional costs, including overtime, given the public we serve.

While my review of the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge for four days during the week of September 9 is continuing, it is clear that the closure met none of these conditions. After inquiring with Bridge personnel on what I deemed an ill-advised operation, I ordered the immediate reopening of the lanes as quickly and safely as possible. I also made clear that changes to Fort Lee access lanes would require the same due diligence we apply throughout our facilities.

In the time that has lapsed since the unannounced closures, I have learned, as has this Committee, that the agency’s Director of Interstate Capital Projects, David Wildstein, made the decision on or about September 5 to restrict local access lanes to the upper level toll plaza in Fort Lee from three lanes to one. Wildstein failed to provide notice to the leadership of our Public Safety Department, including our Chief Security Officer and the Chief of the Department, or to the Borough of Fort Lee, Fort Lee Police and first responders, other Bergen County communities, the commuting public, or senior leadership within the Port Authority, including me.

As a result of his decision, commuters entering the George Washington Bridge that week were subjected to hours of gridlock, and the Borough of Fort Lee was, for all intents and purposes, shut down during the morning rush. Drivers complained of up to 4-hour commutes, and Port Authority Police expended significant resources to create traffic diversions to safely control the massive back up of vehicles on Fort Lee roads. September 9 was also the first day of school for many children in the surrounding communities, and we now know that there were reports from parents and local schools that many school buses were delayed due to the unnecessary gridlock that engulfed the Borough of Fort Lee.

Most alarmingly however, it has been reported that ambulances, police cars, fire trucks, and other public safety vehicles were also needlessly delayed, putting the public’s safety at risk. Thankfully, it appears there was no resulting loss of life due to the closures. However, that is of little comfort to me or my colleagues at the Port Authority who believe that the safety of the traveling public is the Port Authority’s number one priority.

Let me be clear, the decision to restrict local access to the George Washington Bridge during the morning rush bypassed normal operating procedures, without proper transparency and openness. And it directly violated our agency’s primary responsibility to protect our customers and personnel.

[pg 166]
ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: Okay. You said you’ve had a number of conversations with Mr. Baroni regarding this incident.

MR. FOYE: Yes.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: Did he, at any time during those conversations, explain why this decision was made on the part of Wildstein to do these lane closures?

MR. FOYE: Traffic study.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: And that was the best he could give you, or gave you, in terms of rationale for causing all of this?

MR. FOYE: That was the rationale.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: Okay. You know there’s been a lot of speculation that these lane closures were done for political purpose because of the issues with the Mayor in Fort Lee. And when you’ve had these conversations with Wildstein, did he make any reference to his decision having to have political purpose?

MR. FOYE: So, Vice Chair, just to be clear, I’ve had no conversations with Wildstein. I’ve spoken with Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni. And the answer to your question is no.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: So you accepted their statement, their rationale that they put people at risk, and spent money, and created tremendous upheaval solely for the purpose of a traffic study?

MR. FOYE: I don’t.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: You don’t. Why do you think they did it?

MR. FOYE: I’m not aware of any traffic study. I don’t know why it was done.


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Reposted from HoundDog by pierre9045

I am retracting this story with apologies as I see no second source, or even mention of it by 11:37 p.m.  The "supposed" NJSpotlight story must be a punk, as it is inconceivable to me that this news could be a real annoucement last night of the NJ Senate co-chair of the investigative committee Robert Gorden announcing that the Governor's office was not going to allow its members to testify, without dozens of other news organizations reporting it by now.  My deepest apologies. I started another post announcing this retraction, and will report progress in investigating what happened there.

As of now, however, I believe I have been duped and reported a false story, which regrettable made it to our Daily Kos rec board. I am very sorry.


Update: I see no other source picking up this story by 11:00 pm EST, which is inexplicable. I hope I do not have to retract this story, reported late last night by NJSpotlight which still has it up.  I am investigating this and will report back as soon as I can figure out what is going on.  Sorry, if I jumped the gun on this report.


The NJSpotlight is just breaking a story reporting that Senator Robert Gordon, chairmen of the legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures announced tonight that Christie's office has informed them that they will not allow any members of its office to testify before the committee, in Gordon: Governor’s Office Refuses To Appear Before Legislative Committee.  So much for "full cooperation."

In an announcement that could set the stage for a constitutional showdown, the Christie administration informed Sen. Robert Gordon (D-Bergen), chairman of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, that it is Christie administration policy that no members of the governor’s office are allowed to appear before legislative committees.

“This is a Christie administration policy. There was no such policy before this in previous administrations,” Gordon said yesterday on the eve of his committee hearing focusing on the months of delays by the Department of Community Affairs in getting $600 million in Sandy aid out to homeowners. “This is a huge disadvantage for our inquiry when so many of the decisions are made in the governor’s office.”

It would be an even larger disadvantage for the Joint Legislative Select Committee on Investigation that is probing the Bridgegate scandal, considering that 10 subpoenas issued by the panel -- including three new subpoenas issued yesterday -- went to current members of the governor’s office and two to former governor’s aides who have since been fired or resigned.

Bill Stepien's lawyer also reiterated his intention not to comply with the subpoena. The committee voted this morning authorizing their attorney to use whatever legal means necessary to force compliance.

This Nixononian escalation by the Governor is bound to provoke much protestation after his earlier pledge to cooperate fully with the committee's investigation.  


Do you think Governor Christie's refusal to allow members of his office to testify before the committee will help or hurt his credibility?

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Reposted from Armando by pierre9045
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reacts during a news conference in Trenton January 9, 2014. Christie on Thursday fired a top aide at the center of a brewing scandal that public officials orchestrated a massive traffic snarl on the busy George Washingto
What did Christie know and when did he know it?
The Newark Star Ledger reports:
The New Jersey legislative committee investigating the Bridgegate scandal will probe records of helicopter rides Gov. Chris Christie took to see if he flew near Fort Lee while lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge were closed, sources told The Post ... Sources in the governor’s office said that Christie took a ferry to Ground Zero from Jersey City on the 9/11 anniversary and then flew back to Trenton, but that Wildstein was not on board.
I was particularly struck by the reference to the helicopter ride on 9/11, because I was recently told by an informed source that "if the records are subpoenaed for the governor's trip back from the 9/11 Memorial event, they will demonstrate that the governor flew over the George Washington Bridge" on that day. It appears that those records have been subpoenaed and the governor's office has not issued a denial that the flyover occurred.

If this is true, then Christie will have to explain why he was flown over the bridge on the third day of the politically motivated traffic jam that was engineered by officials in Christie's office and the Port Authority, to punish Fort Lee's Democratic mayor.

Was it because he wanted to see how Bridgegate was panning out? Had David Wildstein—the former Christie crony at the Port Authority who is now looking for an immunity deal and who was with Christie at the 9/11 event, told the governor that Fort Lee was having some traffic problems? Was Christie lying when he denied knowing about it until after the fact? I have reviewed Christie's public schedule that day and he had no events scheduled in Northern Jersey. Indeed, Christie's office told the New York Post that "Christie took a ferry to Ground Zero from Jersey City on the 9/11 anniversary and then flew back to Trenton." (Note that the George Washington Bridge is in the opposite direction from Ground Zero to Trenton.)

And could this be the smoking gun Wildstein hinted at last month?

... evidence exists ... 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 he gave immediately before Mr. Wildstein was scheduled to appear before the [New Jersey House] Transportation Committee.
Did the plot just get thicker ... again?
Reposted from HoundDog by pierre9045

Brent Johnson, of the Star-Ledger, just published, Christie bridge scandal: Panel looking into whether governor flew in helicopter over Fort Lee.

TRENTON — The state legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal is looking into whether Gov. Chris Christie flew in a state helicopter over Fort Lee at the time of last year's controversial lane closures, according to a source with knowledge of the probe. ...

Colin Reed, a spokesman for Christie's office, confirmed today that the Republican governor did fly in a helicopter from New York to Trenton on Sept. 11 of last year — the third day of the closures. But asked whether the aircraft passed over the bridge, Reed declined comment.

"Anonymous" speculation is loudly wondering if this could be the "evidence that exists" according to David Wildstein. Christie's helicopter logs are included in the announcement of the 18 new subpoenas just announced in the last hour.

The legislative committee is looking into any conversations Christie may have had with Wildstein on Sept. 11 — the third day of the five-day closures — after pictures surfaced showing them together that day, according to the report by the Post. ... Reed said the governor traveled via ferry from Jersey City for a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and flew back to Trenton via helicopter.

"David Wildstein did not ride with him that day, or any day, as he has never flown in the helicopter with the governor," Reed said.

Two years ago, Christie was criticized for using the State Police helicopters to travel to his son's baseball games.

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Reposted from AnnetteK by pierre9045

This is going to be real short, and real sweet.

Don't feel the need to rec, it's just in the form of an update for all the Christiegate junkies here on the Great orange Satan...............

Rachel Maddow tweets over the thing...

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Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. by pierre9045

Sorry for the lack of pithy commentary, BUT since this is BREAKING News -- Here ya go:

Christie bridge scandal: Recipients of 18 new subpoenas revealed

by Christopher Baxter, The Star-Ledger, -- Feb 10, 2014 at 6:00 PM

TRENTON — The state legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal will issue 18 new subpoenas, including to Gov. Chris Christie's office, his inner circle and officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The Star-Ledger has learned.

Recipients include the State Police aviation unit, which oversees Christie's helicopter travel, four new members of Christie's office, and his failed state Supreme Court nominee, Phillip Kwon, who now works as deputy general counsel at the Port Authority.

The full list of those to be subpoenaed is:

  * Chris Christie for Governor, the governor's re-election campaign
  * Christie's office
  * Regina Egea, director of the authorities unit, governor's office
  * Nicole Crifo, senior counsel to the authorities unit, governor's office
  * Jeanne Ashmore, director of constituent relations, governor's office
  * Rosemary Iannacone, director of operations, governor's office
  * Barbara Panebianco, executive assistant to Bridge Anne Kelly, governor's office
  * Custodian of records, State Police aviation unit
  * William "Pat" Schuber, commissioner at the Port Authority
  * Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director at the Port Authority
  * Custodian of records, Port Authority
  * Steve Coleman, deputy director of media relations, Port Authority
  * Phillip Kwon, deputy general counsel, Port Authority
  * John Ma, chief of staff to Executive Director Patrick Foye, Port Authority
  * Matthew Bell, special assistant to former Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, Port Authority
  * Gretchen DiMarco, assistant to Baroni, Port Authority
  * Arielle Schwarz, special assistant to former Director of Interstate Capital Projects David Wildstein, Port Authority
  * Mark Muriello, assistant director of Tunnels, Bridges & Terminals, Port Authority

The heat just got turned up by about 18 degrees in the Christie Kitchen, a few times over ... or so it would seem.

Reposted from HoundDog by pierre9045

Finally, MSNBC comes to the rescue with, Let Me Start: Christie keeping some GOPers worried

PLAYING HARDBALL: As the investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closures continues, you can count on one thing: the top dog isn’t giving in that fast. Reports today reveal that the Christie administration has informed Senate Legislative Oversight Committee chairman Sen. Robert Gordon that no members of the governor’s office will appear before any legislative committees. Will this policy hurt the Christie administration’s defense? Or will it only hurt the investigation to be met with a wall of silence?

Meanwhile, new subpoenas were issued this week in the investigation, and the big question now is whether those members of Christie’s circle will comply, or plead the Fifth. This web is getting more and more tangled as the weeks drag on, and you can be sure that this will have a lasting effect on Christie’s legacy as New Jersey governor–and as a potential presidential candidate.

Programming note: Sen. Robert Gordon will join Hardball tonight at 7 p.m. ET on MSNBC. .

This morning I wrote this:

This morning, I retracted last night's story, RETRACTED: Christie refuses to allow members of his office testify before legislative committee, I reported from the NJSpotlight which reported that Christie's office had told NJ Senate co-chair that it would not allow members of his office to testify. Although, that story is still being reported, no second source has emerged, even at this point, so I issued a retraction and apology this morning.  No second source emerges for story about "Christie's office" refuses to let members testify.
Thanks also to agiftagain for finding three other sources for this while I was out to, and down in, the dump.  Two more sources

So now I retract my retraction this morning of the report of last night's NJSpotlight story because I couldn't find a second source this morning.  Plus Senator Robert Gordon will be on Chris Matthews Hardball.

So now I can say I reported this story, before I retracted it, and then retracted it before I'm reporting it again, now. Sheesh! Sorry for being sorry about this before. This will teach me a valuable lesson about getting too far ahead of a breaking story.  

I still can not figure out why this hasn't been the major headline all day, as it has such rings back to the Nixon Watergate scandal. Many here are too young to remember this was the mother of all the "gategate" scandals and terminology. For Christie's office to not allow his office staff to testify after promising previously to cooperate with the investigations seems to me to be bigger news than we've seen from today's few reports.

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