Chris Christie’s crises

BY LIAN MLODZIENSKI

Assistant News Editor

During the winter break, the national news buzzed with commentary about an alleged scandal possibly involving Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.

The alleged scandal involved the closing of two of three lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge in the town of Fort Lee, New Jersey.

This bridge is an important entry point into New York City for many who make the commute each day.  These lane closings took place in early September of 2013 and snarled traffic for days throughout the town.

Officials initially said the lane closings were due to a traffic study. Others speculated the lanes closed because Mayor Sokolich of Fort Lee did not support Christie for governor in the November election.

During the next couple of months, members of the State Assembly and the Port Authority started looking into the lane closures.  While the Port Authority began an internal review, John Wiseniewski, an Assemblyman, began investigating the situation and was eventually granted subpoena power.

Governor Christie denied any involvement in the situation and dismissed the allegations that the lane closures were politically motivated.

In early January, the controversy of the lane closures came to the national forefront when certain emails were discovered.

In August of 2013, Bridget Anne Kelly, Former Deputy Chief of Staff of Christie’s administration, communicated with David Wildstein, former Director of Interstate Capital Projects.

Kelly emailed Wildstein saying, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”  The reply from Wildstein was, “Got it.”

Once these emails emerged, the press as well as the State Assembly continued investigating.

As a result Governor Christie fired two of his staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and Bill Stepien, Christie’s campaign manager.

Governor Christie held a two hour press conference and offered apologies to the people of Fort Lee and New Jersey and answered questions from reporters, stating he did not know about the situation discussed in the emails.  He also went to Fort Lee to apologize to the people.

As the investigation into the lane closures continued, another potential scandal was exposed.

The Mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, Dawn Zimmer, claimed that Hoboken was not given appropriate Sandy relief funds because she didn’t support a development project in Hoboken that was favored by Governor Christie.

“I’d be more than willing to testify under oath and answer any questions and provide any documents, take a lie detector test, “ Zimmer told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki.  “And, you know, my question back to them is, ‘Would all of you?  Would all of you be willing do the same thing, to testify under oath, to take a lie detector test?’”

Zimmer has already turned diary entries, emails, and other public records to aid in a possible future investigation against Chris Christie and his administration.

She alleged this was indicated to her by the Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno. The Christie Administration claims this is untrue and there was no wrongdoing.

At present, there is an ongoing investigation by the joint committee of the New Jersey State Legislature. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is also investigating the allegations.

Email Lian at:

lmlodzien1@live.esu.edu

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