Bridgegate Investigators To Samson: Time’s Up

Matt Katz, WNYC | April 30, 2014 | Katz on Christie

Legislative investigators have sent a letter to former Port Authority Chairman David Samson, who resigned amid investigations over his role in Bridgegate and his business practices, mandating that he turn over documents that were requested more than three months ago.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Democrat who co-chairs the Legislature’s investigative committee into Christie’s alleged abuse of power, didn’t release the letter. But he said the sum and substance of it is this: Time to turn over the rest of your documents.

Of the dozens of people and entities subpoenaed for documents as part of the state Legislature’s probe, two successfully fought the requests in court (former Christie aides Bill Stepien and Bridget Kelly), while two opted to turn over papers on a rolling basis (the Christie re-election campaign and Samson). Wisniewski is now targeting the campaign and Samson, saying that the committee’s attorney has been instructed to send letters to their attorneys.

“Enough. Time’s up. Period,” Wisniewski said.

Also on Tuesday, former Christie aide Matt Mowers was subpoenaed to testify before the Legislature, Wisniewski said. He is scheduled to testify May 13, taking the spot of Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye, whose testimony has been moved to June due to scheduling issues. Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak is also scheduled to testify May 13, while Mowers’ former colleague Christina Renna will appear before the committee next Tuesday.

Mowers is a key player in the investigation because he asked for Christie re-election endorsements from both Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who complained that the George Washington Bridge lanes were closed in his town as part of a political retaliation scheme, and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who has also alleged political retaliation by Christie. Neither Sokolich nor Zimmer endorsed Christie, but both are said to have considered it.

Mowers sought Sokolich’s endorsement while working for Kelly, but he was employed for the Christie re-election campaign by the time she wrote the “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email. His role also raises questions about whether government workers were doing political work on the government’s time.

Mowers is now the executive director of the New Hampshire GOP. His appointment there was widely seen as an effort by Team Christie to plant a flag in an early presidential primary state. As a result, the press there has covered Mowers role in the Bridgegate saga, and Democrats have attacked him for it.

Tuesday night, the New Hampshire Democratic party tweeted this: Mowers “should spend less time filing frivolous complaints against [Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen] & more time prepping his #Bridgegate testimony #subpoenaed.”

State Republicans do not seem bothered by the distraction. New Hampshire GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Horn said in a statement: “Matt has simply been asked to provide information regarding this issue and he has fully has cooperated with all previous requests. Matt will continue to cooperate with any legitimate investigation.”