One of the closest New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s aides is said to be directly involved in a mean-spirited effort to create “traffic problems” for an official who declined to endorse the governor’s reelection bid.
According to reporters, who obtained a whole series of private e-mails, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly wrote in an email on Aug. 13.
“Got it,” replied David Wildstein, who was then one of Christie’s top aides at the Port Authority, which is run jointly by New York and New Jersey.
Surprisingly, but next month Wildstein created the traffic problems that Christie’s office requested.
That who him who closed down several of Fort Lee’s access lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge, the busiest bridge in the country.
“The closures came on Sept. 9, the first day of school in Fort Lee, leading to massive traffic jams as bridge traffic backed up into local streets. As a result, police and emergency vehicles were delayed in responding to reports of a missing child and a cardiac arrest,” The Huffington Post reports.
The news came soon after Fort Lee’s mayor, Democrat Mark Sokolich, refused e to endorse Christie’s decision to enter election race.
Sokolich then explained to reporters that he never explicitly told the governor’s team that he wouldn’t endorse the governor.
“There were overtures that were made to the effect like, ‘Is this something you would consider?’ And I don’t ever recall getting back and saying no,” he said.
“I think that was a conclusion that they, in the infinite wisdom of the folks in Trenton, must have reached the conclusion that I wasn’t going to. But I never specifically said no.”
Back in September, Sokolich suggested that Wildstein’s actions were “punitive,” although he later backed off that accusation.
However, since that time he appeared to be quite mum as the controversy swirled around Christie, saying he didn’t believe there was any benefit to his community in his speaking up.
But when reached on Wednesday, he was furious about the new revelations.
“My reaction wavers everywhere from comical to criminal,” said Sokolich. “It is absolutely the most disheartening example of petty politics, which has gone so afoul, and to put the well-being of a community that has to deal with traffic issues every day to create a manmade set of circumstances that put all of us in harm’s way.”
“Since it would appear through these emails there was a level of intentionality, we demand an apology. We demand that somebody reach out to the folks that waited for ambulances, experiencing three to four longer response times than usual. They need to apologize to the thousands of families that couldn’t get their kids to school on time on the first day of school.
He went on, adding: “… Somebody’s got to cut Fort Lee back a reimbursement check for our overtime and all the other expenses that we incurred during those four days, because you have no idea what the mobilization effort around here is when something like that happens,” he added.