By David Cruz
Rather than a smoking gun, the newly un-redacted documents from David Wildstein, the former Port Authority official at the center of the bridge closing scandal, show what committee chairman John Wisniewski called a “juvenile” and “cavalier” attitude. Wisniewski points to an exchange between Wildstein and former Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly about the Port Authority’s chaplain.
“He has officially pissed me off,” Wildstein wrote.
“Clearly,” responded Kelly. “We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?”
That reference to traffic problems comes almost a full month before the lane closures.
The documents also confirm what had been previously reported, that Wildstein and Port Authority Police Lieutenant Chip Michaels communicated via text on the first morning of the lane closures. That’s something that Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye says the agency is investigating. But it’s Foye’s relationship with Port Authority Chairman David Samson that made the most news this week.
“On behalf of the board of commissioners, we are deeply sorry for inconvenience caused to our travelers,” Samson said last week.
When asked by a reporter asked if the chairman has ever apologized to him for the emails and texts about him, Foye said, “No, and I don’t expect one.”
Foye told the Daily News this week that Samson — Christie’s appointee and close ally — lacked the moral authority to lead the agency. The deteriorating relationship between the two made it into the conversation on the governor’s call-in show.
“I haven’t spoken to him about the latest incident. But the latest incident isn’t something new, so we’ve had this conversation many times before and ultimately with some of these disputes, Governor Cuomo and I have to resolve them,” Gov. Chris Christie said during his “Ask the Governor” show.
New Jersey commissioners blasted Foye’s comments in a letter to him this week, saying that the comments “breed division and dysfunction” in the organization. Some high-ranking Republicans are also now being more vocal about their support of Samson.
“Let’s see what the facts are and then determinations will be made by the appropriate authorities. I’m not here to judge David Samson. He has an incredibly great reputation,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick.
The lack of a smoking gun in these documents appears to have given Republicans some freedom to embrace Gov. Christie again, too. One Republican on the committee said this week, “There’s nothing new today, and there won’t be anything new tomorrow.” At this point, said the committee member, the Democrats are just using this for their own political gain.