Chris Christie update: Friends in low places

A new report claims yet another longtime Christie buddy helped oversee the Bridgegate traffic disaster

By Elias Isquith

Published February 18, 2014 3:10PM (EST)

Chris Christie                    (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)
Chris Christie (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)

Weekends tend to be harsh for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — with bad news often breaking on Saturday or Sunday morning editions of MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki" — and this holiday break was no different (despite the governor's decision to spend the weekend in Puerto Rico). A new report from Kornacki and company indicates yet another link between Christie's camp and the engineering of a traffic snarl on the George Washington Bridge. Meanwhile, the governor tries to avoid the winter weather and delays a town hall, again.

Here's what you need to know:

  • A report from MSNBC's Steve Kornacki and Brian Murphy indicates that a Port Authority police officer with longstanding ties to Christie, Lieutenant Thomas “Chip” Michaels, communicated repeatedly with disgraced former Christie Port Authority appointee, David Wildstein, about the traffic jam around the town of Fort Lee. The Authority's executive director, Pat Foye, issued an investigation on Sunday into Michaels' behavior. Michaels grew up in the same town as Christie and Wildstein, Livingston, N.J., and recently coached Christie's son for a little league hockey team. What's more, MSNBC reports that Michael's brother, Jeffrey Michaels, is a powerful operator in New Jersey politics, a lobbyist whose business has boomed during the Christie years and who is a significant pro-Christie donor.
  • Christie's office has denied the governor had any contact with Michaels concerning the traffic jam.
  • Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich has declined a request to cooperate from lawyers hired by Christie to investigate Bridgegate.
  • For his part, meanwhile, Christie has delayed, for the second time, a scheduled town hall in Middletown, New Jersey, citing the bad weather.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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