The Record has unredacted emails between Christie Port Authority operative David Wildstein and Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly will leave some people questioning whether there is a culture of anti-Semitism in the Christie inner circle. Or at the very least, whether Wildstein and Kelly are anti-Semitic in addition to conniving and destructive. The emails include jokes about deliberately making life inconvenient for a New Jersey rabbi from Middlesex County associated with the Port Authority. There are also discussions between Wildstein and his boss Bill Baroni strategizing about how to keep Sen. Loretta Weinberg and Asm John Wisniewski from asking questions at a Port Authority Commissioners meeting. The two are now the co-chairs of the NJ Legislature’s joint investigation of the Bridgegate events.
Link to the emails, Wildstein and Kelly’s questionable conversation, and Baroni and Wildstein strategize how to keep Loretta Weinberg and John Wisniewski from asking questions – all on the jump page.
The Record published the emails a few minutes ago, including this exchange that came six days after Kelly messaged Wildstein: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” and began the chain of events that led to 5 days of traffic chaos, and now investigations of Christie administration conduct by multiple bodies:
In the texts about the chaplain, Wildstein sent Kelly a picture of Rabbi Mendy Carlebach, later writing: “And he has officially pissed me off.”
“Clearly,” Kelly responded on Aug. 19.
“We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?” Kelly wrote.
“Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed,” wrote Wildstein, an executive at the bi-state agency that controls the region’s airports.
“Perfect,” Kelly wrote.
Carlbach is a member of the Interfaith Advisory Council and was a chaplain at the 2004 and 2008 Republican National Conventions. He told The Record he was baffled by the exchange, having no idea why they would be discussing him.
Communications also show Bill Baroni, the former GOP state senator Christie made his top operative at the PA and Wildstein, , the founder of PolitickerNJ and longtime Christie friend who the governor was apparently using as his personal foot soldier at the agency, were both concerned about being fired in November. They weren’t; they both resigned in December, with Christie still heaping praise on them.
There is also another strange reference to Jewishness in the emails:
In the photo Wildstein forwarded to Kelly before they exchanged messages about the rabbi, Carlebach is posing next to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner. It’s not clear when the photo was taken or why Wildstein was sending it.
“I think this qualifies as some sort of stalking,” Kelly wrote to Wildstein in response to the photo, adding, “You are too much.”
Wildstein replied: “He is the Jewish Cid Wilson,” an apparent reference to a Leonia resident and Bergen Community College trustee who is active in politics and community organizations.
Wilson said he never met Wildstein and was “deeply appalled and offended” that his name came up in the texts.
Wildstein and Baroni discussed how to control two legislators at a Q & A session for reporters at a PA commissioners meeting:
“Do we let Weinberg and Wiz attend? Can we stop them?” Wildstein wrote.
“How do we stop them? It just creates an issue,” Baroni replied.
“I don’t see how but need to ask you,” Wildstein wrote.
“Yeah they will beat us up either way,” Baroni responded.
The emails also confirm that Lt. Chip Michaels, like Wildstein a longtime friend of Christie from growing up in Livingston, was reporting to Wildstein the impact on traffic of the closures. And they show Bill Stepian’s opinion of Pat Foye:
“Holy [expletive], who does he think he is, Capt. America?”
It was Foye who reversed the lane closures, and who told the NJ Legislature the “traffic study” Baroni cited was fiction. Foye believes the lane closures may have broken both federal and state law. Stepian was Christie’s campaign manager, hand-picked to run NJGOP and advise him at RGA before the scandal tracked into Christie’s inner office and he threw most of his inner circle under the bus to distance himself from the impression he was responsible.
The Record’s reporting on this story has been excellent, worthy of the journalism prizes and accolades that will almost certainly come. Read Shawn Boburg and Abbott Koloff’s full story here.