Another N.J. bridge controversy brewing, and a familiar name surfaces
April 21st, 2014
06:48 PM ET
6 years ago

Another N.J. bridge controversy brewing, and a familiar name surfaces

(CNN) - The George Washington Bridge may not be the only one used in an apparent act of political retribution by appointees of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and a familiar name in that scandal has surfaced anew.

While suggestions that top Christie officials orchestrated traffic jams around the nation’s busiest bridge in Fort Lee last year have fueled months of controversy, details have surfaced about another span just to the south.

Last year, the mayor of Jersey City was supposed to meet with the state’s transportation commissioner about a construction project that would temporarily close a section of the Pulaski Skyway, an aging bridge and elevated highway badly in need of an overhaul.

But when Democrat Steven Fulop decided not to cross party lines and publicly support Christie’s re-election, a meeting with Commissioner James Simpson was canceled.

That information comes from documents that were part of a review of the access lane closures to the George Washington Bridge by lawyers hired by Christie’s office.

The skyway meeting was one of several appointments Fulop had with members of Christie’s team that were canceled almost simultaneously.

And interviews conducted for the internal report point fingers at a former Christie deputy, Bridget Anne Kelly, who last summer apparently authored the now-infamous email: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

According to a memo about an interview lawyers from the firm Gibson Dunn conducted with the transportation commissioner, “Simpson recalled speaking to Kelly in connection with a cancelled meeting between Simpson and Mayor Fulop.”

“In particular, Simpson was scheduled to have a meeting with Mayor Fulop but at some point, Simpson learned from DOT Assistant Commissioner Anthony Attanasio that Kelly had cancelled the meeting,” the memo said.

Simpson told the lawyers that a two-year closure of the skyway would impact Jersey City and it required coordination with the city’s transportation department.

Simpson was not told why the meeting was canceled, according to the memo. He said she never got back to him despite repeated calls to Kelly in an attempt to reschedule the meeting with Fulop.

The $1 billion dollar rehabilitation project is causing 34,000 cars to be detoured every day, according to state transportation officials.

Simpson did eventually meet with Fulop about the skyway in January.

He had previously questioned whether his meeting with Simpson and other officials had been canceled because of his failure to endorse Christie, a Republican who won reelection easily.

That is at the heart of the George Washington Bridge fiasco – suggestions of political retribution against the Fort Lee mayor for not backing the governor.

Kelly was fired from her job in January.

Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. rla

    Same old rant– How about looking into CNN wasting paper space?

    April 21, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    We already know Kelly exceeded her authority, in actions not ordered by Christie. This is not really anything that new.

    April 21, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. Vence

    Surprise! It's two for one!!

    April 21, 2014 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    By the way, has anyone see Pat Buchanon's claim that God is on Russia's side because of opposition to LGBT rights? I guess that would explain the blind love the Right in the US feels towards Putin, that a KGB killer is doing God's work.

    April 21, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  5. steve

    something is rotten in new jersey!

    April 21, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |

    This bridge witch hunt is the (least) of alll things We are concerned about as republicans . Dems better grow some like mine and your dear old maws and paws had cause what was old will be new again dems have made it that way . You are all going to need them nuts now thanks to your greed selfish crazy lazy give me give me poor expectations no will to change ways and the world owes me something. We us them dont owe you Nothing they might but i dont like sponges or leeches . Work if you can . If you can work and dont eat bugs and th dems . thanks you .

    April 21, 2014 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  7. God MAY NOT be a Liberal, but He IS a Democrat

    The man, Christie, is not leadership material. We claim not to tolerate intimidation/ bullying / coercion / in corporate management [ha, they trot that out when its convenient], so why should we allow it in government, by the "Chief Executive". If they could level this charge against the President they`d say he was arrogant and they fear him.

    April 21, 2014 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |

    Mayor Fulop questioned whether his meeting with Simpson and other officials was canceled because of his failure to endorse Christie. Is that it CNN? Is this the bottom line to the story above? So, an entire year after this meeting was canceled, it occurs to Fulop that gee, maybe this canceled meeting was political pay back too, just like in bridgegate.

    Are you people for real? Hell, Christie was up over 20 points above Bouno. Why would he need an endorsement from Fulop? You people really love to hate Christie. If you can't report it you just insinuate it. I noticed you never covered the investigation results of the law firm (most were former fed prosecutors) who found that there was no evidence that Christie knew of bridgegate. Didn't suit your purpose, huh?

    April 22, 2014 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  9. Thomas

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

    Why ?

    April 22, 2014 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  10. sifto

    Grasping at straws to smear christie...

    April 22, 2014 07:39 am at 7:39 am |