Tag Archive: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Image: Chris Christie in Fort Lee to meet Mayor Mark Sokolich.

Chris Christie in Fort Lee to meet Mayor Mark Sokolich. (Spencer Platt / Getty)

Christie, ex-official clash over when governor learned of bridge lane closings

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office denied he knew anything ahead of time about an operation to jam traffic on the George Washington Bridge. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the official who ordered the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge last year clashed Friday over precisely when Christie learned about the controversial incident.

In a letter to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (.pdf), a lawyer for David Wildstein — the Port Authority official who actually ordered the event — says “evidence exists tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the Governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference.”

In a statement Friday afternoon, Christie’s office said that rather than call Christie’s behavior into question, the letter “confirms what the Governor has said all along — he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened and whatever Mr. Wildstein’s motivations were for closing them to begin with.”

Christie’s statement goes on to say he denies “Mr. Wildstein’s lawyer’s other assertions,” which primarily have to do with Wildstein’s attempt to force the Port Authority to pay his legal bills.

The main disagreement appears to stem from the sequence of events.

In his statement Friday, Christie said he didn’t know about what’s come to be known as “Bridgegate” beforehand. In his Jan. 9 news conference — the one Wildstein alludes to — he said that “I had no knowledge of this — of the planning, the execution or anything about it — and that I first found out about it after it was over.”

Christie doubled down on that assertion late Friday night. In a statement issued to “clear up any lingering confusion,” a spokesman said, “Governor Christie has said each time he has been asked that he first learned about the closing of the lanes on the George Washington Bridge from press accounts after the instance was over.”

It’s that second contention that Wildstein contradicts in his letter, saying flat-out that Christie knew about the incident as it was jamming traffic between New York and New Jersey from Sept. 9 to Sept. 12.

“Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the Governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some,” the letter says — although it gives no hint of what that evidence might be.

A new allegation claims New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sanctioned a road closure as political payback. NBC’s Michael Isikoff reports.

Wildstein’s letter was first reported Friday by The New York Times and subsequently obtained by NBC News.

Christie — who’s considered a serious contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination — has repeatedly denied having ordered the closing of two of three local access lanes from Fort Lee, N.J., to the bridge, which is one of the busiest in the world. The closing froze traffic for four days — allegedly in retaliation over the mayor’s refusal to endorse him in the 2013 governor’s race.

It’s the latest piece in a puzzle that has been emerging over the past few months of Christie as a swaggering political bully.

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Christie’s Office Attacks Motives of Former Ally’s Lawyer’s Claims

Feb. 1, 2014 9:01 p.m. ET

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration has attacked the motives of a former ally whose attorney claims the GOP presidential hopeful knew of highly disruptive lane closures on a New York area bridge as they were going on, contrary to the governor’s previous statements.

Mr. Christie’s office challenged the claims of his former associate, David Wildstein, in a public statement on Saturday. “Bottom line—David Wildstein will do and say anything to save David Wildstein,” said the message, first reported by Politico and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie arrived on stage Saturday during the Super Bowl Hand-Off Ceremony on Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square in New York. Reuters

Mr. Wildstein’s attorney Alan Zegas in the letter released to the Port Authority and the media on Friday said “evidence exists…tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge” of the lane closures while they were still going on during the week beginning Sept. 9.

He didn’t identify the evidence to which he referred or say of what it consists. Mr. Zegas’s letter also said Mr. Wildstein could prove various statements made by the governor about Mr. Wildstein weren’t accurate.

Mr. Wildstein personally directed the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge from Sept. 9 to Sept. 13, causing traffic jams in Fort Lee, N.J. that lengthened commutes and delayed emergency vehicles.

The closures were seen by many people as political retribution against Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor, who didn’t endorse Mr. Christie’s re-election. The exact motive for the lane closures has yet to be proven.

Mr. Wildstein has since resigned as director of interstate capital projects at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge, which is one of the busiest in the world.

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NYC’s new look: One World Trade Center spire scrapes sky

Gary Hershorn / Reuters

The final section of the spire that will top off One World Trade Center is raised past iron workers to the top of the building in New York, on May 2. The spire will be permanently attached at a later date.




A crane guided the final piece into a temporary structure that will house the section until final installation by iron workers at a later date.

Once installed, the spire — weighing more than 700 tons — will crown the Freedom Tower at 1,776 feet, making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The building currently tops out at 1,368 feet.


Lucas Jackson / Reuters

An ironworker uses a line to steady the final piece of a spire, affixed with a U.S. flag, before it is lifted to the top of One World Trade Center in New York, on May 2.



9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels watched the spire piece rise Thursday morning from the memorial’s office windows overlooking the World Trade Center site.

“It’s a big milestone in the history of the rebirth of the site,” Daniels told NBC News. “This renewal of spirit, to see spring here and this beautiful weather, the memorial fountains and the flag on the spire piece going up. It was one of those things that you won’t forget.”

By chance, the hoisting fell exactly two years after Navy SEALS shot and killed Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the terror attacks that demolished the two World Trade Center towers and killed thousands of Americans.

“To have the One World Trade Center spire happen today — it feels poetic, and it feels like poetic justice,” Daniels said.

The event came one day after a 250-pound piece of an airplane wing, believed to be part of a 9/11 jetliner, was removed out of an alley near the World Trade Center where it was found last week and taken into police custody.


Justin Lane / EPA

Workers watch as the spire for the top of One World Trade Center is hoisted to the top of the building in New York, on May 2.


When the building is completed, and once it is verified by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, One World Trade Center will be the third-highest building in the world, behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (2,717 feet) and Mecca’s Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel (1,972 feet).

Willis Tower (formerly called Sears Tower) and the Trump International Hotel & Tower, both in Chicago, are currently the two highest buildings in the U.S.

The spire — complete with galvanized steel broadcast rings — will serve as part of the One WTC’s transmission facilities for the region’s media outlets. Perched at its tip is the spire’s stainless steel beacon.


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