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Inauguration raised $660,000 for a Christie Party That Never Was

Monday, March 17, 2014

WNYC

Gov. Chris Christie's inaugural bash at Ellis Island may have been cancelled due to snow, but it still generated $660,000 from the politically connected.

Those who paid $500 for tickets to the inaugural party in January had their contributions used for charity, as per state law. Part of the money, $75,000, went to New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where Christie attended services the morning he was sworn in for a second term. The church's pastor, Joe Carter, delivered a key African American and Democratic endorsement for the Republican governor's re-election.

Here are some of those who donated to the inaugural bash, according to a new filing from the state Election Law Enforcement Commission:

5 Top Christie aides: Regina Egea, Christie's chief of staff; Rosemary Iannacone, director of operations; Christopher Porrino, chief counsel; Matthew McDermott, appointments director; and Jeanne Ashmore, director of constituent relations.

10 Cabinet members: Andrew Sidamon Eristoff, state treasurer; Michele Brown, CEO of the Economic Development Authority; Marc Ferzan, Sandy czar; Charles McKenna, CEO of Schools Development Authority; Robert Martin, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection; Edward Dickson, director of Homeland Security; Raymond Martinez, chief administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission; James Weinstein, former executive director of NJ Transit; Gary Lanigan, commissioner of the Department of Corrections; and Dianne Solomon, director of the Board of Public Utilities.

2 Members of the special legislative committee investigating Bridgegate: Sen. Kevin O'Toole and Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi.

2 Sandy contractors: Ferreira Construction and Conti Group.

1 Christie Lawyer: Debra Wong Yang, a Christie friend who is part of the legal team representing his office in the Bridgegate and Sandy scandals. Yang is being paid $650-an-hour by the taxpayers.

2 Port Authority Board Members: Richard Bagger, a former Christie chief-of-staff, and William "Pat" Schuber.

1 Former U.S. Senator: Jeff Chiesa, Christie's former attorney general whom Christie appointed to fill an interim term, now works at Wolff & Samson law firm.

Several Automotive Dealerships: They are now at the center of criticism from Tesla, the election car manufacturer, which says Christie made a deal with them to cut Tesla out of direct sales in the state.

1 Former Christie Supreme Court Nominee: Bruce Harris, whose nomination was scuttled by Democrats, now works at the Turnpike Authority.

1 Former Executive Director of the Government Records Council: Until December, Brandon Minde was responsible for adjudicating complaints against the governor for keeping records secret.

2 Rutgers Board of Governors: Ralph Izzo, chairman of the PSE&G utility, and Martin Perez, president of the Latino Leadership Alliance.

Many Heavyweight Trenton lobbyists: Including Dale Florio, Roger Bodman and partners at Public Strategies Impact, the second-highest grossing lobbying firm in the state.

3 Top Department of Environmental Protection officials: Including assistant commissioners Michele Siekerka and Robert Marshall; and Cindy Randazzo, a director.

24 employees from Gibbons PC: The fifth biggest lobbyist in the state and the law firm of Christie's friend, adviser and inaugural committee co-chairman, Bill Palatucci. 

Several unions: Including the Laborers' International Union of North America, the State Troopers Fraternal Association and the Building and General Construction Laborers.

1 Charter School founder: Vahan Gureghian, a Pennsylvania millionaire and CEO of a firm recently approved by New Jersey to manage a new charter school in Camden.

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