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Thousands of Bridgegate Documents Released — Vulgarities Included

Friday, January 10, 2014

Chris Christie at a press conference discussing the scandal over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge (screenshot from Christie YouTube page/Youtube)

Thousands of pages of documents released Friday afternoon by New Jersey Democrats investigating Governor Chris Christie's Bridgegate scandal reveal new details about how the scandal unfolded.

Christie's spokesman, Michael Drewniak, dismissed with vulgarity a reporter seeking information about the lane closures. Christie's top appointee at the Port Authority, David Samson, said that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's appointees were "stirring up trouble" for talking about the ensuing traffic jam.

And, the documents reveal, Christie and Samson met a week before the traffic-causing lane closures. Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski says this indicates they may have discussed the scheme beforehand.

Christie has said neither he, nor Samson, knew anything about it.

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Comments [2]

Kirk Barrett from new jersey

"Bridgegate" is fascinating political theater but media, in its focus on damage to Gov. Christie is largely missing the larger and more important point -- namely, the culture at the Port Authority that allowed those involved to think they could get away with these sort of mischief.

I have seen only the Star Ledge editorial board has recognized this, yesterday, in Sunday's paper, see
http://blog.nj.com/njv_editorial_page/2014/01/a_crisis_of_leadership_in_the.html

They wrote " ... long line of governors from both New York and New Jersey, who’ve spent decades stocking this bistate agency with political cronies. They’ve treated it like a place to seed with hacks, who occupy positions that should be in the hands of experts and professionals. This agency has pledged to be more transparent. Yet in the subpoenaed e-mails, its public affairs staffers docket every call from a reporter with the notation that they did not respond. And the patronage problem has only grown in recent years. Christie was a key contributor, urging the authority to hire dozens more of his people. The public was shocked that his appointees could have carried out such a brazen political hit. But given the makeup of this agency, perhaps it was inevitable."

(In contrast to the political hacks at the Port Authority,
praise be to Executive Director Patrick Foye, who stepped in to end this mess.)

The Port Authority takes in about $500 million per year from tolls on the GWB alone. And yet, _three times_ in the past couple of months, they have had to close lanes on the bridge during the day for emergency repairs. This snarled traffic for many more thousands of people than the Ft. Lee closures. With $500M/yr in revenue, why can't the PA keep the pavement on the nation's busiest bridge in good condition? Why did the politicians let them jack up their tolls and fares? Who is ensuring they are spending commuters' dollars effectively?

If Governor Christie is really sorry about what happened, he should lead a reform effort at the Port Authority with the same vigor he went after the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners early in his governorship. And the media should keep pressing him about it.

Jan. 13 2014 09:36 AM
John Farrell from Minnesota

I vividly recall the 1972-74 Nixon involvement in Watergate and his subsequent resignation from the Presidency. Many of the platitudes being offered by Christie ring familiar. The entire panoply of events brings back the comments of Alice. She exclaimed after eating some of the surprise cake, "Curiouser and curiouser" There have times when I've been known to exclaim "curiouser and curiouser" when it appears that someone is operating in a completely different level of reality than I am. (Not to say that my level of reality is always acceptable to others).

Jan. 10 2014 09:46 PM

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