The goombah

chris christie

Everyone who lives around here already knows what a vindictive asshole Christie is:

So the unfolding story of the lane closings has become something of a cause célèbre, resulting in a hearing before the New Jersey Legislature on Monday, as well as a window into the proudly aggressive and often secretive dealings of Mr. Christie’s team.

The mayor of Fort Lee, a Democrat, complained in a letter in September that the lane closings were “punitive” — Mr. Christie, a Republican, was leaning heavily on Democratic mayors to endorse him for re-election so he could present himself as a presidential candidate with bipartisan appeal, but the mayor was not going along.

Mr. Christie laughed off the idea that he had been involved in a matter as small as closing bridge lanes, and his chief appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the bridge, insisted that the lane closings were simply part of a traffic study.

But on Friday, the man who ordered the closings — a high school friend of the governor’s who was a small-town mayor and the founder of an anonymous political blog before Mr. Christie’s appointee created a job for him at the Port Authority — resigned, saying the issue had become “a distraction.”

And testifying under subpoena in Trenton on Monday, bridge workers described Mr. Christie’s associates’ ordering the closings, and called the different maneuvers “unprecedented,” “odd” and “wrong.” There was, they said, no study.

Mr. Christie’s associates at the Port Authority, they said, ordered bridge workers to shut down the lanes with three days’ notice despite warnings that it would cause havoc, and that changes of this magnitude typically took years of planning. They were instructed not to tell anyone — not the news media, not Fort Lee, not even the Port Authority’s executive director, who is an appointee of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, they said. They protested, but went along, they said, because they feared retribution.

At perhaps the strangest turn in the legislative hearing, the chairman of the Transportation Committee, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat, pressed the Port Authority’s executive director, Patrick J. Foye, to say whether it was possible that the police officer who had overseen the moving of the cones that closed the lanes — a man named Captain Licorice, though no one who testified could verify the spelling of his name — had been given a promotion as a reward for staying silent about the whole operation.

“You have to forgive our suspicion here,” Mr. Wisniewski told Mr. Foye, who was forced, as other Port Authority officials were, to attend the hearing by subpoena. “There’s a lot here that’s happened that is not normal, that is unprecedented.”

“It is troubling to me, too,” Mr. Foye replied. (He did say, however, that the promotion was not an exchange for silence.)

Via DUI Lawyer Kush Arora.

One thought on “The goombah

  1. “Captain Licorice?” Captain Licorice, really. Forgive MY suspicion, but “the promotion was not an exchange for silence,” sounds an awful lot like “the lane closings were simply part of a traffic study.”

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