By Bill Mooney | January 8th, 2014 - 5:14pm
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TRENTON – Former Port Authority official David Wildstein was made the fall guy for the Fort Lee lane closure fiasco, said Assembly Transportation Chair John Wisniewski; now it’s time to see if he will pull anyone down with him.

Wisniewski said today that “So far, what we know is that Mr. Wildstein has been pointed to by everybody … as the fall guy.

“It is clear that is not the entire story,’’ said the chair of the Assembly committee that has subpoenaed the former Authority director of interstate capital projects to testify on Thursday.

Wildstein is fighting the subpoena, Wisniewski said, but he expects that Wildstein will be unsuccessful in that effort. “Mr. Wildstein’s testimony can help fill in the blanks,’’ Wisniewsk said.

At a press conference today to discuss the revelations that show Wildstein was in communication with Christie’s deputy chief of staff on Aug. 13 about planned Fort Lee lane closures in September at the George Washington Bridge, Wisniewski said that the incompleteness of what they have received so far raises as many questions as it answers.

For example, he said the wording in the subpoenaed Aug. 13 emails would lead one to believe there were prior communications; otherwise what is discussed in the Aug. 13 email would leave someone wondering what it means.

“There had to be some conversation before that,” Wisniewski said.

“We still have much more to learn.  The committee will continue to work to get these answers.”

Wisniewski was joined by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who also has been calling for answers about what happened in September.

“I started with this in mid-September when I first heard about it,’’ she said. “I wrote a letter to (William) Pat Schuber,” an Authority commissioner. “I thought he would understand the issue around using the busiest bridge in the world …. It was used for some kind of petty political payback. Upon receipt of my letter Schuber called me and said ‘I would get to the bottom of this.’ I’m still waiting.’’

Weinberg, who has a resolution up in committee Thursday that calls on Congress to re-examine the structure of the Authority, said Wednesday that Gov. Chris Christie created an atmosphere at the Port Authority that enabled people like Wildstein to believe he could shut down traffic lanes and enabled people like since-resigned appointee Bill Baroni to believe he could execute a cover-up explanation of a traffic study.

“Then I find out that the governor created that atmosphere in his own office,’’ Weinberg said in reference to the email that has Kelly saying “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

Wisniewski said that so far, he is unaware of any retaliation against him for his pursuit of answers.

Weinberg said she has heard from New York legislators who also would like more information on what happened.

And she echoed Wisniewski’s opening comments: “The governor made a statement that he asked people in his office if they knew anything about this; either his staff lied to him or the governor was less than truthful with the people in New Jersey.’’

Wisniewski said that Christie “joked about this, he derided this.  In a sense, he has got to come clean with what he knew and when he knew it.  Either he has no control over his front office or he is not telling the truth.’’

The Back Room

Sweeney goes on offense

Days after Jersey City Mayor (and 2017 gubernatorial hopeful) Steve Fulop declared his support and fundraising devotion to South Jersey Congressional candidate Bill Hughes, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) see-sawed onto Fulop's turf with his own "I can find pockets of love in every part of this state including JC" statement.

Read More >

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 18, 2014

Fulop endorses Smith in Bayonne mayoral raceBAYONNE - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop parachuted into the Bayonne mayoral race on Thursday night by endorsing incumbent Mayor Mark Smith."It is a pleasure to be with you here, Mark," said Fulop to a crowd of more than 125 supporters at a...

Op-Ed

Paterson can flourish with a second chance

By ASLON GOOW, SR. I have spent the past three decades raising a family, building a business, and working to improve our Paterson communities.  I am proud of those accomplishments.  In 2002, I spoke at an expungement... Read More >

Contributors

(4-16-14) New Jersey Vote By Mail Law - The voter turnout for New Jersey’s November gubernatorial election was the lowest since the days of prohibition, coming... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »
Watching Governor Chris Christie's shocking BridgeGate implosion, it's easy to forget the time when he truly seemed unstoppable.  Blessed with incredible political gifts and a Jersey bluster to match,... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop

- PolitickerNJ.com

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