Your Daily Christie:
A Port Authority police officer who grew up with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was at the George Washington Bridge to witness the lane closings, and was in communication with David Wildstein, a port authority official who has also been tied to the scandal, according to MSNBC.The "Port Authority Police Officer," Lietenant Thomas "Chip" Michaels, was Christie's childhood buddy, coach of Christie's son's Little League hockey team and his brother Jeff Michaels is (or was) a top Christie donor and one of the most powerful Republicans in the state. Jeff Michaels purportedly delivered the news to Christie that he had won the election of 2009.
Essentially the guy was assigned to monitor the bridge, texting Wildstein at the Port Authority over and over, apparently about how "the plan" was going. According to MSNBC, he took Wildstein for a drive around the area so Wildstein could see for himself.
Lieutenant Thomas "Chip" Michaels sent text messages to Wildstein updating him about the lane closures and their impact on the town of Fort Lee, according to documents submitted to the New Jersey legislative committee by Wildstein and reviewed by Brian Murphy and Steve Kornacki for MSNBC.What makes this even more interesting is that one of the texts appears to tell Wildstein that Michaels, on the first day of the closures, has had a flash of inspiration that will make things "better." What Michaels meant or intended by "better" is left to our imagination. TPM points out that documents released by the New Jersey state legislative committee indicate that the targeted Mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, had sent a letter to the Port Authority complaining that police at the bridge were telling commuters that the lane closures were the mayor's fault.
On the first morning of the lane closures, text messages appear to show Michaels telling Wildstein before they went for their ride-around, that “its [expletive] up here.” Then, at 8:46am – approximately 75 minutes after they had apparently left for their ride-around on the bridge – Michaels tested Wildstein that “I may hav idea to mak ths beter” (sic). The next morning, just before 9:00am, Michaels texted Wildstein again. “Local ft lee traffic disaster.”The documents don't indicate whether Michaels was one of those police officers, and the bare language of these texts don't appear incriminating. But the very fact that he was there, at the scene, repeatedly texting Wildstein, speaks volumes:
Michaels’ presence at the lane closures with Wildstein is an important new detail because it places another person with long-time ties to the governor, this time in the Port Authority Police Department, at the scene witnessing the traffic surge that has since come to engulf Christie’s administration in legal inquires.A 2010 article in the Newark Star-Ledger detailed what longtime buds the Guv and Michaels are:
"We break his chops a little bit, just saying, ‘You’re the governor?,’ looking at him laughing," said Chip Michaels, who along with his brothers grew up with Christie. "It’s crazy. He grew up like everyone else in New Jersey. So to see him as a celebrity, it’s just really odd. But he’s the same guy. He’s a grounded guy."