Christie Aide Before GWB Closure: ‘Time for Some Traffic Problems in Fort Lee’
Christie Aide Before GWB Closure: ‘Time for Some Traffic Problems in Fort Lee’

NEW YORK—“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” wrote Bridget Anne Kelly, a top aide to Gov. Chris Christie in an Aug. 13 email to David Wildstein, an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“Got it,” replied Wildstein, an ally of Christie, and the authority’s director of interstate capital projects.

Weeks later on Sept. 9, two approach lanes from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge were closed, causing a week-long traffic jam. Commutes were delayed by hours and children were late to school for several days.

The emails, obtained through a subpoena by New Jersey State Assemblyman John Wisniewski, are the most powerful evidence suggesting that key staffers, allies, and appointees of Gov. Christie were involved the lane closures in order to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, for not supporting him Christie in the election for governor.

Sokolich, who initially denied that the lanes were closed as punishment, told the Wall Street Journal that he now believes otherwise.

“I’ve been punished not for something I’ve done, but for something I didn’t do,” Sokolich said. “This is the behavior of a bully in a schoolyard. It is the greatest example of political payback.”

After three days of traffic jams that paralyzed a swath of Fort Lee, the authority’s director, Patrick Foye, reacted with outrage in an email to staff, ordering the lanes reopened. Foye’s investigation of the matter at the time determined that vital entities, including the emergency dispatch and the borough’s government, were not informed of the closures in advance.

“I pray that no life has been lost or trip of a hospital- or hospice-bound patient delayed,” Foye wrote.

The emails show the reaction of officials as media reports about the closures suggest the possibility of a punitive measure from Christie. In early December, Wildstein resigned from the Port Authority. A week later, Bill Baroni, Christie top appointee at the Port Authority also resigned.

In one of the communications, someone sends a message with the text of a message from Sololich to Baroni, which relays complaints of traffic jams and children being kept from school.

“I feel bad about the kids,” the message reads.

“They are the children of Buono voters,” an unidentified person replies.

Barbara Buono was Christie’s Democratic opponent in the election for governor.

  • missjulz

    Bully might play well with some folks but to be President you have to look out for the interests of all the citizens. That kind of behavior I hope has sunk him. Sleaze.

    • rg9rts

      His short fuse and motormouth will be his destruction.

  • Steven G Smith

    Sadly, I think this punitive petty-mindedness is far more prevalent in our so-called elected representatives than we are willing to acknowledge in our day-to-day lives and at the voting booths.

    • rg9rts

      He denied it and tried to get Cuomo to squash the investigation.

    • Cynthia W.

      Although I didn’t vote for Christie, I really didn’t know about all this until recently. Sometimes the fast pace of living doesn’t allow time for investigation. Around election time, many democrats I talked to actually LIKED Christie for his “hurricane persona”, and never mentioned a thing about “bridgegate”. It certainly wasn’t front page news locally.

  • rg9rts

    And his flunkies did this all by themselves? Right!

  • AskandTell

    Mother Jones does a good job of recapping the series of events; they also have a copy of all the emails that were provided by David Wildstein in response to a subpoena. Because Christie’s staff hid the plan from police, the search for a missing four-year old was delayed because police weren’t able to plan for extra manpower to direct traffic.

    • MollysMomma

      thanks askand tell…i’ll check that out. christie may finally get what he deserves after being a bully all these years. i will be interested to see this story play out. we first saw this story brought up by rachel maddow…she is usually first to break interesting and important stories…she did it again.

      • AskandTell

        Yes, and I love how she gives credit to local papers.and had on the reporter tonight that kept reporting on the story even after Christie tried to make fun of him.

        • MollysMomma

          rachel is the best. and i am pleased to see christie finally get put in his place. we watched chris hayes last night and saw the mayor …that was very interesting too. christie may have gone too far this time.

    • Cynthia W.

      Sometimes it takes a scandal to uncover a scandal. Seems Chris had an accident with a motorcyclist back in 2002. He was turning the wrong way down a one way street, but blamed the MC driver for hitting him. This case never made it to court, but was settled privately.

  • kcinca

    Mmmm mmmmm mmmm; looks like this Republican heavyweight’s gonna be taking a tumble and he’ll hit the ground HARD!

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