Christie's Quick Trip to Fort Lee—And a Mayor's Forgiveness

Thursday, January 09, 2014


Capping off a dramatic day in the history of the Christie Administration, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said not to blame the governor for the George Washington Bridge lane closures that snarled traffic in his town for a work week in September.

After meeting with Gov. Chris Christie just after 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sokolich said he not only accepts Christie's apology, but he believes the governor is honest when he says he had no knowledge of his staff's involvement in the lane closures.

"I am sold. If you know me for 30 seconds, I'm a forgiving guy," Sokolich told reporters following his meeting with Christie.

Christie arrived at Fort Lee's municipal building looking grim. During a lengthy news conference earlier Thursday, he said that he wanted to personally apologize to Sokolich for his administration’s decision to close lanes to the busiest bridge in the world, for what seems like political retribution. Four people involved in the controversy are no longer working under Christie.

Christie called the meeting with Sokolich "very productive" and said he got a warm reception from the mayor.

He shook hands with a couple residents who gathered outside to thank Christie for apologizing. Others aired their grievances with the Governor. But Christie did not address them. 

Fort Lee resident Vadim Ratinov said he was expecting more from the governor’s visit.

"At least some kind of apology to the public for the traffic that was caused here," Ratinov said. "He just went in and then just came back out, got in his car and left.”

Ratinov said he appreciates the apology to the mayor but that he's still skeptical the governor had no involvement in the lane closures.

In other developments:

- The chief federal prosecutor in New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, said he is "reviewing the matter to determine whether a federal law was implicated." The Legislature is also investigating. Using public resources for political ends can be a crime.

- David Wildstein, a Christie appointee who resigned from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey after being implicated in the scandal, was found in contempt Thursday by a legislative committee after he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions. The Port Authority operates the bridge.

- Six New Jersey residents filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Christie, the state of New Jersey, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and others the September traffic jams at the bridge. The suit was filed in federal court and appears to be the first civil claim since the controversy surfaced. The plaintiffs want it certified as a class action.

With the Associated Press


Julianne Welby


Comments [1]

Gov. Christie, however, promised to disclose any evidence “that come forward that requires action to be taken.”
He added, “I will take it, no matter how much it hurts me personally or dismays me, because this is the job I asked for, and I’ve got to do it.”
I wonder if that applies to the well documented rampant theft of Lost & Found property at the Port Authority Bus Terminal by Port Authority Supervisors, and the illegal written policy of throwing lost valid passorts in the garbage instead of mailing them to their respective embassies if their owners could not be located and reunited with their lost passports. Now just imagine the damage that a terrorist cell or an identity theft ring could do with those passports. 

If the Gov. is a man of his word, he can start by axing all the supervisors at the Port Authority Bus Terminal involved in this criminal activity, the supervisors that turned a blind eye to it, and the supervisors who participated in the coverup and retaliation.

Jan. 11 2014 06:16 PM

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