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Emails show NJ politician made traffic to NYC awful to spite rival
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” one Port Authority executive wrote.
Email and text messages obtained by a New Jersey newspaper allegedly show that Governor Chris Christie‘s staff deliberately created terrible traffic in order to spite a political rival.
Documents, obtained by The Record after a subpoena, reportedly show that Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly instructed others in Christie’s administration to deliberately close lanes in Fort Lee, which lies in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge to New York City. Fort Lee’s mayor, Mark Sokolich, refused to endorse Christie in his reelection campaign.
Christie has previously denied instructing the New Jersey Port Authority to make life tougher for cars in Fort Lee, but the emails tell a different story. In one, written three weeks before the jams began in earnest in September, Kelly reportedly wrote to Port Authority executive David Wildstein that it was “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
“Got it,” Wildstein responded. A week later, he emailed Kelly to say he’d soon call to “let you know how Fort Lee goes.”
In a text message also acquired by the Record, Wildstein reportedly wrote that he didn’t feel bad that school buses were among the vehicles affected by the closures, as “they are the children of [opposition candidate Barbara] Buono voters.”
Wildstein resigned Dec. 6. Christie has cancelled his sole public appearance Wednesday, and his office didn’t immediately return the Daily Dot’s request for comment.
Update: Christie has released a statement to the press, distancing himself from the scandal. He described himself as “outraged” and said such behavior “is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”
Photo by Shinya Suzuki/Flickr
A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.