In September, lane closures on the George Washington Bridge caused massive traffic delays and rooted exasperated drivers in stand-still gridlocks in Fort Lee, New Jersey. At the time, the four days of closures and delays were attributed to a “traffic study” conducted by Port Authority.
Now, new developments reveal that the lane closures might actually have been a move of political retaliation orchestrated by one of New Jersey Governor Chris Christy’s top aides.
When Fort Lee’s Mayor Mark Sokolich refused to endorse Christy for re-election last November, it appears that Christie’s staff responded quickly and vengefully. Emails released on Wednesday indicate that two weeks before the closures, Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s deputy chief of staff for legislative and intergovernmental affairs, sent an email with unmistakable intention: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
“Got it,” replied David Wildstein, a Port Authority worker who had been appointed to the position by Christie.
Christie has repeatedly denied any association between his office and the September lane-closings, claiming to be “outraged and deeply saddened” by the event.
On Wednesday, after the documents were released, Christie canceled his planned public event. Several hours later, he issued a statement in which he claimed to have been ignorant of the events until seeing the documents that same day.
“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable,” said Christie. “This completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge.”
Notably, both Christie’s top spokesman Michael Drewinia and his reelection campaign manager Bill Stepein were included in some of the damning email exchanges.
“Either he was directly involved or he has supervised people who think these kind of actions are appropriate,” said Loretta Weinberg, New Jersey’s state Senate Majority Leader.
As the scandal has grown and become publically visible, Wildstein has resigned from his position, as has another Christie appointee, Bill Baroni.
Sources: Daily News, Fox News
Photo Source: Daily News