Report: Christie asked Cuomo to rein in investigator of George Washington Bridge closure

Chris Christie's George Washington Bridge controversy continues apace

Topics: Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie, The Wall Street Journal, George Washington Bridge, David Wildstein, Mark Sokolich, ,

Chris Christie’s bridge problem just won’t go away.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Christie recently spoke with Cuomo to complain about the way an appointee of the latter was handling an investigation into a controversy over the George Washington Bridge. Christie, according to the Journal, told Cuomo that the investigator — Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Patrick Foye — was being too aggressive.

At question is whether a Christie appointee —David Wildstein, a former high school friend who has since resigned — had two-out-of-three lanes of the George Washington Bridge closed as political payback to a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse the New Jersey governor during his reelection campaign. The initial reason given for the closure, a traffic study, has since been revealed to have been false. The mayor in question, Fort Lee’s Mark Sokolich, originally accused Wildstein of acting “punitively,” but later withdrew his charge.

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Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey have accused Christie appointees of ordering the lane closures to punish Fort Lee’s mayor, Democrat Mark Sokolich, for not endorsing the governor’s re-election campaign. Mr. Christie’s campaign has denied that, and his Port Authority team has said the lanes were closed to study traffic patterns on the bridge.

A spokesman for Mr. Christie said Thursday that the governor talks to Mr. Cuomo regularly “on any number of mutual-interest topics. Those conversations are private.”

A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo declined to comment. Asked in a radio interview Thursday whether he had spoken to Mr. Christie about the bridge matter, Mr. Cuomo didn’t answer the question. “I don’t know anything more than basically what has been in the newspapers,” he said.

The call between the two ambitious governors was another illustration of how the controversy has mushroomed into a headache for Mr. Christie. One of his top representatives at the authority, David Wildstein, resigned last week, citing the bridge closures. Democratic calls for the resignation of another top authority aide, Bill Baroni, have escalated this week.

It wasn’t clear how Mr. Cuomo responded to Mr. Christie’s call or if it was the first time Mr. Christie had lodged a complaint.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith.

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