Tag Archive: Port Authority

Ingle: People realizing Christie is “more or less politics as usual”

Chris Hayes on Friday night looked at the current situation with the new inquiry looking at what apparently was called the “Chairmans’s flight” that David Samson took, that didn’t exist before he was Port Authority Chairman and ceased existing 3 days after Samson left the position.  You can see the segment here:

They went on to talk about the Governor’s no good, very bad week and what got my attention was this line from Bob Ingle toward the end of the segment:

The people who had this image as the guy who is above all of this corruption, this guy who is a regular sort of fellow who would eat a cheesesteak on the boardwalk is not really who they thought he was. That he is more or less politics as usual and I think that is hurting him with his fan base

That’s really Christie’s biggest problem, all of these stories undermine the image they have worked so hard to craft. We here at Blue Jersey would argue it is more than politics as usual and we’ve made that argument for years, but it’s good to see everyone else taking a second look at Governor Downgrade through that lens.

The Samson “Chairman’s Flight” was 20.6% full compared to the United average of 84.9%

The Financial Times took a look at the subpoena’s from the US Attorney’s office to United Airlines regarding what seems to be known as the “Chairman’s Flight” that David Samson regularly took.  If you haven’t seen the story, here is a summary:

The subpoenas suggest federal prosecutors’ investigation has gone well beyond that initial “Bridgegate” affair. It has been widely reported to revolve around the airline’s operation, from September 2012 until three days after Mr Samson’s resignation, of two round trips weekly – on Mondays and Thursdays – between Newark and Columbia, South Carolina. Columbia is 56 miles from Aiken, South Carolina, where Mr Samson and his wife have had a home since 2006.

But in that story, they have this amazing stat on just how empty the flights really were in comparison to the other United flights:

Only 309 of the 1,500 seats United offered on the Columbia to Newark service between September 2012 and the end of that year were filled, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That 20.6 per cent load factor compares with the 84.9 per cent average for all United’s domestic flights in 2012.

No wonder they stopped running the flight after Samson resigned. United probably wishes they could get rid of the subpoenas they apparently received as a result of it that easily.

The $6,000 Question: What’s Chris Christie Hiding?

Diary rescue from this weekend. Promoted by Rosi.

In September 2013, Chris Christie traveled to Texas, where he sat in luxury suite seats for a Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants game with Cowboys’ owner and billionaire GOP donor Jerry Jones. As Christie related the story this month on his radio call-in show on New Jersey 101.5:

And I remember, over the summer of 2013, we were at the beach house one weekend, and I got a call from Jerry Jones. And he said “Listen, I can’t believe you’ve been a Cowboys fan all these years. I’m a big supporter of yours. I’m thrilled you’re a Cowboys fan. And I hope we get to meet some time. And I said, “Well, actually, I’m gonna be coming to Dallas in September to raise money for the Republican National Committee.” And he said, “Well, if we have a game that weekend, I hope you come.” And I did. I went that weekend with another friend, who brought me to the game.

Serious questions have been raised about Christie’s relationship with Jones and the possibility of improper political interference in the awarding of a lucrative Port Authority contract to Legends Hospitality, a company owned in large part by Jones. On March 19, 2013, Christie and NY Gov. Cuomo issued a joint press release announcing their selection of Legends Hospitality to develop and operate the observation deck at One World Trade Center, and they called on the Port Authority Board of Commissioners to approve the agreement at its meeting the next day.

If Chris Christie didn’t meet Jerry Jones Until 2013, Why Was Jones Calling Christie In 2009?

If you believe the Governor as of the other day, he didn’t meet Jerry Jones until 2013, after he had already personally pushed for Jones’s company to get a contract with the Port Authority:

“Jerry Jones and I first met in September of 2013,” Christie said on his monthly radio call-in show on New Jersey 101.5. He added that by his recollection, he only first spoke to Jones on the phone in the summer of 2013.

The governor said the men connected only after a mutual friend called him to say that Jones understood Christie was a fan of the Cowboys, and wanted his cell phone number. Christie gave his friend the number, and shortly after Jones called.

“We were at the beach house one weekend, and I got a call from Jerry Jones,” Christie said.

But if you believe what the Governor was saying before he got caught with his hand in the Jerry Jones cookie jar (or luxury box), they first started talking years earlier way back in 2009:

“The great thing was, right after, so that got out and it got national press that I was a Cowboys fan running for Governor of New Jersey and the next day, I got a call from Jerry Jones,” Christie explained, who has sat in Jones’ box during Cowboys games.

And guess what, there video so we have it in his own words:

And that would also seem to back up what he said with Steve Adubato this past December:

However, in an interview with Steve Adubato on PBS in late December, Christie was far less specific, telling his interviewer, “I’ve become friends with Jerry over the last five years.”

Adubato, looking a bit surprised, took note that the two men were apparently on a first-name basis, interjecting, “‘Jerry’?” To which Christie said, ” “Yeah. Jerry.’ He allows me to call him ‘Jerry’. I don’t call him, ‘Mr. Jones.’ I call him ‘Jerry.’ And I’ve become friends with Jerry over the last five years.”

So if “Jerry” didn’t meet Chris until 2013, why have they been friends for 5 years with Christie saying he got his first call way back in 2009?

Partisanship: The Schrödinger’s Cat of #NJAssembly

Nothing says partisanship more than voting against your conscience because your party leader wants you to.  We saw that two years ago during the fight for marriage equality when a significant number of moderate Republicans voted against an override of Governor Christie’s veto, even though they leaned in favor of the bill.

Today, in the New Jersey Assembly, we saw several variants of partisanship. Some good, some not so good.

Bipartisanship: The Assembly unanimously passed a bill to promote better transparency in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The bill is identical to one passed by the New York legislature (also unanimously) and is a “no-brainer” start toward fixing this patronage pit. So while the Governor has vetoed unanimous or near-unanimous legislation in the past, he’s likely to sign this simply to enhance his presidential aspirations. A veto would be used by his GOP opponents to highlight the cronyism in the Christie administration.

Cross-partisanship (a/k/a bipartisanship lite): The “Aid in Dying for the terminally Ill Act” passed in the Assembly today by a vote of 41 to 31. While it was generally supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans, there were several crossovers on both sides. GOP Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, who usually carries Chris Christie’s water, told an impassioned story about his conversation with his father, a psychiatrist, and how that resulted in a “yes” vote. Several Democrats voted against the bill, and given the vote count, there’s no way this bill will survive the governor’s veto (assuming it even gets through the Senate.)

Orwellian-partisanship: I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. One Republican Assemblyman said he was opposed to the Aid in Dying bill because he felt that politicians should not get between doctors and patients.

Another Failed Christie Nominee

Chris Christie has two main characteristics that make people — and in particular journalists and editorial writers — think he is competent and deserving of high office.

The first is that he is a truth teller.  This has taken a beating over the past year or so as he dissembled, hid and fibbed over a number of issues, not the least of which is Bridgegate and an unwillingness to speak on issues the Tea Party doesn’t like.

The second, though, is that Christie is a competent manager who selects good people.  When he was named US Attorney he had never prosecuted a case, and he said he’d be good because he’d hired good people.  When he was running for Governor he had one term as a small-county Freeholder, and said he’d be good because he’d hire good people.  

Video: Wiz & Weinberg on Schuber’s zero ‘curiosity’ testimony

Here – below – are GWB panel co-chairs Sen. Loretta Weinberg and Asm John Wisniewski talking to press after Tuesday’s questioning of Port Authority Commissioner William “Pat” Schuber and his I don’t know, I don’t remember, I wasn’t there testimony.

For more on this, highly recommend Matt Katz’ Port Authority — or Politburo?

Next up to testify is Christie chief of staff Kevin O’Dowd, who had knowledge that Deputy COS Bridget Kelly might have known something about the lane closures, as early as December 5th of last year – a conversation Gov. Christie walked in on, suggesting his Jan. 8th 2-hour shock and awe press conference might have been more showmanship than actual righteous outrage.

More than 1,000 pages of FOIA records-request documents on Bill Baroni released by Port Authority

Today, more than 1,000 pages of documents related to Bill Baroni’s time working for the Port Authority of New York & NJ were released to the public. The docs, obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) records request to the PA by progressive PAC American Bridge show meetings with senior advisors to Gov. Chris Christie and expense account records and tickets related to Baroni’s travel in 2013. American Bridge lists NJ and Christie first in a list of issues they’re monitoring.

Review the full 1,000-plus pages of FOIA-requested docs here.

There’s no overt mention in Baroni’s calendar of the GWB scheme. But among items that jump out: