Governor Christie’s 3-day “trade mission” to London paid for by—you guessed it—New Jersey taxpayers has proved fruitless, despite his penchant for “squeezing all the juice out of the orange.”
Christie is a kind of Boss Tweed, taking for himself and his family and leaving New Jerseyans to flounder in the wreckage.
New Jersey is only one of three states where poverty has gone up according to the latest U.S. Census data. (New Mexico and Washington are the two others.) Back in 2007, 8.6 percent of the state lived below the poverty line. That went up to 9.4 percent in 2009 and in 2013 hit 11.4 percent.
A month after being sworn in as NJ governor in 2010, he declared a fiscal state of emergency, and said, “Like any family . . . we must live within our means.” Why doesn’t he do the same?
Previous New Jersey governors have flown commercial for trade missions, but Christie traveled by private plane for three. He takes his family on all the trips and stays in five-star hotels. Taxpayers footed the bill for him, his wife and two aides to travel to the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans. Airfare totaled $8,146 for the four and his 3-night hotel bill was $3,371. These costs were only disclosed after The Record, a northern NJ paper, filed a lawsuit and a judge’s order ordered him to do so. In response to other public records requests, the governor’s office has said that he is not subject to disclosure laws regarding travel or that they don’t have the records.
On his first day as governor, Christie promised “a new era of accountability and transparency.” Really?
His administration has been unwilling to disclose basic information such as payroll data without first being sued by various media outlets. The Christie administration is currently battling 23 open-records requests in court.
And what about his personal stake in the World Trade Center:
Less than two years before Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones paid for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s tickets and travel to NFL games, government documents show Christie personally pushed the Port Authority to approve a lucrative contract for a firm part-owned by Jones.
In March 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Governor Christie chose Legends Hospitality LLC (owned by the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and Checketts Partners Investment Fund) to operate the World Trade Center observation deck. The Port Authority spent a whopping $4 billion (borrowed money, still to be paid off) to re-vamp the World Trade Center transportation hub alone, leaving nothing for the decrepit 42nd Street Bus Terminal which has not been renovated in 40 years and funnels 250,000 commuters daily. But that’s another story . . .
And then there’s Bridgegate, which will never die. That was his Waterloo, immortalized by Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon. Time to bail out, Christie. We know you orchestrated it. How could we possibly want you for President?
And another thing, Christie has bad manners. When asked how he reacted to many Londoners not knowing who he was during his trip, he said, “I don’t think I have to worry about that. I’m not running for anything in the United Kingdom anytime soon.”
Consider yourself fortunate, U.K.!