Lately, republican Gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie has had to explain some very questionable federal monitoring contracts he granted to his former boss and the man who decided not to indict his brother for securities fraud.
While much of the focus on these cracks in Christie’s "ethical armor" has been on political contributions that smell an awful lot like pay-to-play, very little has been paid to a multi million dollar contract that Christie awarded to David Kelley – who just so happened to indict 14 colleagues/employees of Christie’s brother on criminal securities fraud charges while letting his brother avoid any punishment.
Oh, and according to the SEC:
Todd Christie committed more that 1,600 improper trades between January 1999 and March 2003, generating "riskless profits" of more than $1.59 million for Spear Leeds (his own company) and costing investors $1.4 million. Fifteen of the 20 specialists facing civil charges were also charged with allegedly ripping off investors to the tune of $19,000,000.00, in the biggest crackdown on illegal trading in the Big Board’s History.
As it related to Todd Christie, 3 people above him and the 11 below him were all indicted. What is amazing to note is that one of the indictments was for someone who profited to the tune of $14,000.00 while Todd Christie, who profited to the tune of $1,590,000.00 was never indicted
With Christie on the defensive, the Asbury Park Press isn’t really buying the so-called "explanation" by Christie over his deferred prosecution agreements:
Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie's defense this week of his handing out a multimillion-dollar, no-bid contract to a former federal prosecutor who let Christie's brother off on stock fraud charges was unconvincing. He needs to do better.
If Christie wants to keep the issue from haunting him throughout the campaign, he must provide a full explanation of the selection process. As former state Sen. Dick LaRossa said, the citizens "need full and open disclosure as to the process and criteria used by Mr. Christie to select Mr. Kelley, if only to put our minds at ease."
Put our minds at ease.....make sure there is no legal or ethical violations.....
And, here’s another thought...find out why Christie’s brother was never indicted in the first place.
The Philly Inquirer lays out the heart of the case against Christie’s brother and colleagues:
Kelley investigated a stock fraud case involving Todd Christie and 19 other traders. Fifteen traders were indicted; Todd Christie's case was handled civilly and later settled with no fine and no admission of wrongdoing.
That is fishy in and of itself – especially when Christie’s brother was the highest ranking Executive NOT to be indicted, but there were a11 lower level people who made less money off of fewer improper trades who were indicted. However, the case ultimately fell apart due to prosecutorial "missteps" and nobody ended up getting convicted.
Despite screwing up the case against his brother’s colleagues and not indicting his brother, Christie felt that David Kelley, the US Attorney in charge of the case, was the most qualified law enforcement official in the entire country to give a multi-million federal monitoring contract to. No bidding process involved – this is at the choice of the US Attorney and the Justice Department.
- Christie’s brother is found to have made close to 1,600 "improper trades" as a top executive on Wall Street;
- 14 other colleagues, including 3 above and 11 below him are indicted, while Christie’s brother settles a civil suit and admits to nothing (even though the SEC knew he made close to 1,600 "improper" trades;
- The US Attorney who didn’t indict Christie’s brother ended up not convicting anyone in this case because of errors on his office’s part;
- Two years later, Chris Christie gives this now former US Attorney and colleague a multi million dollar contract, saying that he was the most qualified law enforcement official in the entire country for this job.
This is something that Christie will simply not be able to run away from, ignore or BS his way through. This speaks right to the heart of everything that is wrong with NJ politics. It would make Christie no different from the very people that he indicted and convicted.
In fact, this is precisely the situation that Chris Christie would pride himself on investigating when he was US Attorney. If it was a Democrat and not himself, of course.