Email, Other Documents, Tie Top Christie Staffers to GWB Lane Closures

Lee Keough | January 9, 2014 | More Issues, Politics
'Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,' reads email from governor's deputy chief of staff
chris christie

Documents obtained by NJ Spotlight and other news outlets Wednesday demonstrate that high-level Christie staffers, including Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly and chief spokesman Michael Drewniak, were involved in what’s become known as “Bridgegate,” the sudden closing of three access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee last September.

Kelly, Gov. Chris Christie’s deputy chief of staff for legislative and intergovernmental affairs appears to have given the signal to shut down the access lanes in what Democrats say was retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not becoming one of the many Democratic mayors who endorsed the governor for reelection.

Christie has denied all prior knowledge of the closings, scoffing at the notion he would be involved in such an inconsequential matter.

Two Port Authority officials close to Christie, Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni and Interstate Projects Director David Wildstein, resigned last month after it became clear through hearings that other key Port Authority officials were unaware of any traffic study, which the two Christie appointees blamed for the Fort Lee tie-up.

These emails and texts, most of which are between Wildstein and Kelly, appear to show Kelly’s intimate involvement in the matter, as well as the involvement of Drewniak in responding to the controversy. Bill Stepien, chairman of the governor’s reelection committee, also was involved in the response to the controversy.

State Assemblyman John Wisniewski, chairman of the Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities committee, and one of the two Democrats who have been leading the investigation, plans a press conference this afternoon. Late this morning, Christie cancelled a planned public event in Ocean County. Wisniewski is holding a public hearing tomorrow in Trenton.