The governor, who called [David] Wildstein an "odd duck," said in the notes that his hiring at the Port Authority was pushed by [Bill] Baroni, who wanted to pay him $200,000. Christie said he later agreed at $150,000 salary.Wildstein, of course, was the Port Authority official who carried out the lane closures. Baroni was his boss. And the revelation that Christie personally weighed not only on whether to hire Wildstein but also on his salary belies Christie's insistence that he didn't get involved in the minutiae or Port Authority business.
Here's the way Christie set forth his plausible deniability defense during his January press conference:
There's this, you know, kind of reputation out there of me being a micromanager. I'm not. I mean, I think if you talk to my staff, what they would tell you is that I delegate enormous authority to my staff and enormous authority to my Cabinet. And I tell them, come to me with the policy decisions that need to be made, with some high-level personnel decisions that need to be made. But I do not manage in that kind of micro way, first.Therefore:
So what I can tell you is if people find that hard to believe, I don't know what else to say except to tell them that I had no knowledge of this -- of the planning, the execution or anything about it -- and that I first found out about it after it was over.But even though Christie has repeatedly said that the reason people should believe he didn't have any role in the lane closure scandal is that as governor he didn't have time for low-level goings-on at the Port Authority, we now know that he did in fact have time for such things.
Obviously, this doesn't prove that Christie knew about or ordered the lane closures, but it does show that he's dishing out a load of bull when he tries to explain why people should take him at his word. And that's another reason why his "I didn't know about it" claim is so hard to believe.