The Real Bridgegate Scandal

Three Christie cronies took the fall and you can see NJTV breaking coverage here:
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But after reading the indictment there was one stunning revelation that I fear will not even be noted elsewhere:

From page 4:

J. ChristopherJ, Christie was the Governor of the State of New Jersey and a candidate for reelection in the New Jersey gubernatorial election conducted on November 5, 2013 (“Governor Christie”).

K. IGA was a component of the Governor’s Office that monitored and facilitated the relationships between the Governor’s Office and New Jersey state and local officials. IGA employed regional directors, each of whom was responsible for communicating with local officials, including mayors, in a particular region in New Jersey. Prior to November 5, 2013, certain IGA employees, including defendant KELLY, also played a role in seeking endorsements of Governor Christie’s reelection from elected officials in New Jersey. To that end, IGA’s regional directors were instructed at times to invite New Jersey local officials who might endorse, or might be persuaded to endorse, Governor Christie’s reelection to functions associated with Governor Christie. These included sporting and entertainment events to which Governor Christie had access to tickets and events at Governor Christie’s official state residence. One of the officials whose endorsement IGA employees sought was Mayor Sokolich, who received invitations to some of those functions.

and later on page 7:

10. Prior to on or about August 12, 2013, defendant KELLY expressed disappointment to Wildstein that Mayor Sokolich was not likely to endorse Governor Christie, despite IGA employees’ efforts to obtain that endorsement. In response, Wildstein told defendant KELLY that they could use the Local Access Lanes to cause traffic problems in Fort Lee whenever it would be advantageous to do so.

11. On August 12, 2013, defendant KELLY telephoned an employee of Governor Christie’s reelection campaign who previously, as an IGA employee, had sought Mayor Sokolich’s endorsement (the “Campaign Employee”). Defendant KELLY asked the Campaign Employee to confirm that Mayor Sokolich would not be endorsing Governor Christie. After the Campaign Employee confirmed that information, defendant KELLY responded that it was all she needed to know.

Forget about three stooges* misusing their powers for political purposes.  The real scandal, and it will be interesting to see if there is any media focus on it, is that there is a department (at least one we now know of) within New Jersey state government whose duties encompass brazen electioneering.

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* I do not exaggerate here.  The indictment itself reads like an adaptation of Malice in the Palace.

 

28 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on May 1, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    John, It’s likely that similar “electioneering” goes on in all administrations, in NJ and elsewhere, and at the State, City, County, City, and municipal levels.

    Do you disagree?

    Reply

    • Usually it’s public relations departments but the point is they almost always seek to have some plausible denial for it.

      What may be unique to New Jersey is you could have a federal indictment that includes the line “certain IGA employees, including defendant KELLY, also played a role in seeking endorsements of Governor Christie’s reelection from elected officials in New Jersey” and nobody blinks, including the prosecutors. It’s as if it were expected and the anomaly would be an appointed state official who wasn’t an active partisan.

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      TL you are the one who ignores the pointed questions and continues on your soap box. I don’t need to convince you and like wise you don’t need to convince me. This Governor has sabotaged himself and any real chance of accomplishing anything substantive, including additional P&B reforms, for the remainder of his term, however long it might be because of his lies and scandals. You sugar coat this and other actions like it’s OK because it happens all the time right, face it it’s because he’s your guy and you have your own self serving interests at hand, as do we all, it just so happens yours is in direct conflict with the enforcement of a law this Governor championed and signed but is defying for his own self serving interests. Two final points, it’s all about capitalism if you got a problem with NJ status quo move, can’t sell your house I’ll buy it for ten cents on the dollar assuming I could even afford it then, you greedy little 1% time to pay up!

      You’ll have the last say as I’m sure you usually do so blast away, I’ll not be providing this website any future traffic, no pun intended.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on May 1, 2015 at 6:16 pm

        Anonymous, lets analyze the situation…

        Per Mr. Bury, the unfunded liability for NJ’s Public Sector pensions ALONE is North of $150 Billion, and with retiree healthcare added, it may be a high as $250 Billion.

        While the amount may be debatable, the existence of an ENORMOUS debt and the unaffordability of the CURRENT DB pension and retiree healthcare structure is not.

        And OK, Christie has “accomplished” little.

        And OK. Christie lies,

        AND OK, this presidential ambitions are preventing him from his NJ obligations
        ——————————————————————

        But none of that makes the pension/benefit debt any smaller or the need to address it any less important. …………. and neither does you repeated attempts to divert the reader’s attention to Christie’s misdeeds.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on May 1, 2015 at 6:20 pm

          Anonymous,

          Is your other handle …”BH” (wouldn’t surprise me ……. I couldn’t be bullied under that one either) ?

          Reply

          • Posted by BH on May 1, 2015 at 7:20 pm

            Because I bullied you?
            Lol!! Silly jealous person!!
            Its all over for you…… Christie done!! No deals being made on anything now.

          • Posted by BH on May 1, 2015 at 7:20 pm

            Stick to the tooics

          • Posted by Tough Love on May 1, 2015 at 8:10 pm

            Hey BH,

            I noticed that Anonymous’ comments frequently includes multiple exclamation points ……………. just like you.

            Coincidence ? Maybe.

          • Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2015 at 8:42 pm

            Samson will plea bargain and cook CC’ s goose. So sad!!!

          • Posted by Tough Love on May 1, 2015 at 8:50 pm

            Samsom is emblematic of all the sleazy jokes we hear about lawyers.

          • Posted by BH on May 1, 2015 at 9:22 pm

            Grow up!!
            Done with this forum. Guess you’ll have it all to yourself TL….. Have fun!

          • Posted by Tough Love on May 1, 2015 at 9:46 pm

            What is that … the 3-rd, 4-th, 5-th time you’ve promised to leave ?

          • Posted by Anonymous on May 2, 2015 at 5:05 pm

            TL read it and weep, how would you like your taxes a la carte or dou jour! This Governor is ruining NJ and the scary part is you and select others don’t see it or don’t care because you’re personally benefiting! http://www.njspba.com/news/read.aspx?id=111 There’s a line in the sand and we’ll see which side the majority of NJ is on this November and next. Oh there’ll be P&B compromise but not the kind you, the Governor, or his hand picked bias Commission are suggesting. Which pseudo handles do you blog under, I don’t expect an answer because you continually ignore pointed questions. Just a suggestion, might be easier if you moved to a “red” state.

          • Posted by Tough Love on May 2, 2015 at 6:13 pm

            Anon, STILL tying to DIVER the readers attention to Christie’s misdeeds rather than to FIXING the pension/benefit-driven financial hole NJ is now in ?

            As I stated above ……… none of that makes NJ’s HUGE pension/benefit debt any smaller or the need to address it any less important.

            And as the NJ Pension Commission recognized (and PROPOSED), freezing the DB Plans for all CURRENT workers (ZERO future accruals) as well as materially reducing their healthcare benefits MUST be part of any effective “solution”.

          • Posted by Anonymous on May 2, 2015 at 9:43 pm

            Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, since you once again didn’t answer the pointed questions we’ll be making a selection for you a la carte – enjoy and please come again. BTW, maybe you should bounce some of your ideas off of Lou Goetting, a double dipping, six figure Christie Crony, who until our upstanding leader was in the midst of defying his own law and laying the groundwork for his hand picked Commission was receiving a six figure State salary & an ~$90k annual pension. Pension reform, really!

          • Posted by Tough Love on May 2, 2015 at 10:46 pm

            Anon,

            STILL trying to avoid the issue at hand …..

            How to address the fact that for PAST SERVICE pension accruals and retiree healthcare promises, the assets that should be IN-HAND TODAY, is roughly short by $250 BILLION. If you think that NJ’s taxpayers will be making up that shortfall (or anything even remotely near it), …. I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

            Your retiree healthcare promises will go first, followed shortly thereafter by material pension reductions.

            Greed HAS consequences.

            And Public Sector Unions are a CANCER inflicted upon civilized society.

      • Posted by Anonymous on May 2, 2015 at 11:17 pm

        Yup gotcha now, you’re the Gov’s clone. First your talking freeze the current DBP, switch from “platinum” healthcare with premium share, honor current retirees’ pensions. You even went so far in one of your post, can’t remember which one or when been too many, to suggest a 30-40 year amortization of the unfunded liability but when I suggest it you dismiss it call me greedy and delusional. Now your suggesting health care promise be gone, significant reductions to current retirees, exactly what the Gov’s got up his sleeve, two peas in a pod. That’s why unions and their membership would rather stay the course then deal with this Gov and you, not good for US or NJ I know because the problem continues to grow exponentially but this pervasive dishonest, unscrupulous business practice leaves us no choice. The P&B unfunded liability is all over the place and has unjustifiably risen due to the Great GASB’s recent pronouncements 67 & 68. The real ever changing number is probably somewhere in between the current, with unrealistic ROR assumptions, and the new proposed methodology. Once again you conveniently side step the pointed questions leaving them unanswered, which leads the reader to conclude you’ve got something to hide. Well goodnight, it’s been enjoyable, let’s touch base when key milestones are met; 1. District & Supreme Court rulings 2. July 1, s/b beginning of BFY’16 – although there could be a shutdown? 3. November 4, election results. Probably missed something but then again you’re the self professed expert. C.S.T.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on May 2, 2015 at 11:54 pm

          Quoting …. “You even went so far in one of your post, can’t remember which one or when been too many, to suggest a 30-40 year amortization of the unfunded liability but when I suggest it you dismiss it call me greedy and delusional. ”

          What you said was …”to extend the unfunded liability amortization to rolling 40 year straight line method using pre GASB 67&68″”

          What makes that statement “greedy & delusional”, is proposing (a) a rolling 40 year straight line method, and (b) using pre GASB 67&68 accounting methodology, BOTH of which attempt to ignore reality, minimize annual payments. and pass off almost all of the costs to FUTURE generations that have no connection to the service provided.

          Yes, greedy & delusional.
          —————————————————————————-

          Go ahead …. ask a “pointed question” (that has not to do with Christie … as his misdeeds are irrelevant to SOLVING the pension/benefit problem), and I’ll answer it.

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on May 3, 2015 at 8:52 am

            You seem to keep everyone’s comments fresh so you already know the pointed questions I’ve asked unrelated to the Gov, answer them if you like. Every company, governmental entity, organization, and individual have at one time or another a self serving interest but yet GASB speaks and it is so, we’ll see the push back they get. P&B reform and higher taxes are inevitable, it’s just a question of when and how much. Any significant reforms will be modeled after other States, who have sucessfully funded their DBP, not the private sector. The back door deals unions made with politicians on P&B and who knows what else is no different or self serving than what goes on in Corporate America, ie tax breaks, etc. but to even hint around the edges blame at a rank and file PW (or citizen, which you’ve not done) now that’s dilusional and supports your self serving greedy motivations. BH?

          • Posted by Anonymous on May 3, 2015 at 9:34 am

            You and the Gov, self serving greedy, and dilusional.

            http://pension360.org/chart-a-history-of-new-jerseys-pension-payments/

            The major fundamental issues that got us here;

            1. The initial POB under Whitman
            2. The 9% increase started under Whitman and finalized under Donnie D
            3. The multiple Governor’s from both parties that didn’t make the required ARC
            4. Not implementing health care premium share sooner

            Now I understand all of the above were politically motivated and except for 3. union motivated and PWs benefited. But to go from here to where you and the Gov are going is like long jumping the Grand Canyon, not humanly possible. You’re the self proclaimed expert calculate the numbers for all of the above let’s put PWs on the hook for 2 & 4, and the taxpayers, thanks to our politicians, on the hook for 1 & 3.

          • Posted by Tough Love on May 3, 2015 at 9:34 am

            Anon,

            FYI, the best funded Public Sector pensions are in Wisconsin … the land of Scott Walker.

          • Posted by Tough Love on May 3, 2015 at 9:57 am

            Anon, Responding to your last comment with the 4 bullets…. specifically where you said …”let’s put PWs on the hook for 2 & 4, and the taxpayers, thanks to our politicians, on the hook for 1 & 3.”

            First, yes healthcare premium sharing (by the workers) should have happened LONG ago, but what does putting taxpayer “on the hook” for that mean ? Who fought implementation such sharing …. your Unions & the workers. Who benefited ….. the employees did (by not paying any of the cost), not the taxpayers.

            Second, putting PW’s on the hook for #2 (the 9% increase) suggests that he DB Plan benefits were at the right level of generosity BEFORE that increase. They weren’t, even BEFORE the increase, most often resulting in full career Public Sector pensions having a value 3+ times greater at retirement than those of Comparable Private Sector workers … via MUCH greater formula-factors, MUCH younger full/unreduced retirement ages, and COLA increases (now suspended) that were never part of employer-sponsored Private Sector Plans.

            Third, your #3 point (not making the required ARC payments) falls flat as a result of my response to your #2 above. You see, making the full ARC payment … the calculation of which is A FUNCTION OF Plan generosity … means that we (the Taxpayers) accept that level of generosity as reasonable and appropriate. It isn’t now … and NEVER was ….. ALWAYS being greater than necessary to hire and retain a qualified workforce, unfair to taxpayers now assigned the responsibility for 80-90% of total plan costs, and clearly unfordable. There was NEVER any justification for such high ARC payments.
            —————————————————————————————-

            I hope you appreciate the free pension-education I’m giving you.

          • Posted by Anonymous on May 3, 2015 at 11:19 am

            You’te once again distorting facts, I said calculate the numbers that would mean under the assumption those items I mentioned retrospectively occurred. I also said put PWs on the hook for the 9% increase and premium share, I’ll add now use Ms. Whitman’s POB “fully funded” as a starting point. The recalculated ARC versus what was paid would be the “missed payments” our politicians put the taxpayers at risk for. COLA has been around for a while and is now off the table so that would not figure into your calculations. Do you get if now or do you need another free lesson? So far the only thing I’ve learned from you is you were born into wealth or you have forgotten what labor unions did for those you came before you. Florida, until two years ago was totally State funded, that’s right zero member contribution, salaries and benefits are less but so is housing and taxes. Everything feeds off of everything else, can’t just pick and choose like you and the Gov are so good at. Class is over to summarize today’s lesson, you’ve got a lot of homework to do by July 1st so get busy.

          • Posted by Tough Love on May 3, 2015 at 11:40 am

            Quoting … “I said calculate the numbers that would mean under the assumption those items I mentioned retrospectively occurred.”

            I have know Idea what those words mean …..try re-writing that sentence in 1 or 2 sentences in understandable English,
            —————————————–
            Quoting …… ” recalculated ARC versus what was paid would be the “missed payments” ”

            No. A VERY large part of the asked-for ARC payments were never justifiable in the first place because the BENEFIT LEVELS from which they were calculated were never justifiable (as per my comment above), and were clearly the result of your Union’s BUYING the favorable votes of our Elected Officials to grant such grossly excessive pensions in the first place. In any OTHER venue, those actions would be criminal bribe-giving and bribe-taking.
            —————————————–
            Quoting ……. “COLA has been around for a while and is now off the table so that would not figure into your calculations. ”

            Agreed …. as long as the NEVER get reinstated….. and or course your greedy Unions are suing to do exactly that. Employer-sponsored Private Sector Plans NEVER include COLA increases and there is zero justification for Public Sector Plans to include them at Taxpayer expense.
            ——————————————————————————
            Quoting ……….. “Do you get if now or do you need another free lesson?”

            Get what ……… not one of the items you support holds up under close examination ?
            ————————————————————
            Quoting … “you have forgotten what labor unions did for those you came before you”

            True, but ONLY for PRIVATE Sector Unions. PUBLIC Sector Unions are insatiably greedy and show a taxpayer-be-damned attitude in demanding FAR FAR more than what their Private Sector counterparts get, what is fair, reasonable, and affordable.

            Public Sector unions are nothing but a CANCER inflicted upon civilized Society.

          • Posted by Anonymous on May 3, 2015 at 12:04 pm

            Guess you’re not as smart as I gave you credit or just conviently playing dumb. You’re an insatiable self righteous self serving tea toddling corporate mongur and anyone reading your comments can clearly see. Previous pointed questions still unanswered, can’t or won’t comprehend substanative comments, we’re going to have to keep you after class.

          • Posted by Tough Love on May 3, 2015 at 12:08 pm

            Anon, Re-quoting YOUR English ….

            “I said calculate the numbers that would mean under the assumption those items I mentioned retrospectively occurred.”

            Yeah, you’re a genius.

  2. Posted by truthnolie on May 3, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Posted by Tough Love a few spots above:

    “I have KNOW idea”……HAHAHA….LMAO…..a true purveyor of proper syntax and sentence wording…..only…..not.

    Reply

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