Just when things were settling down for the long siege of subpoenas and investigations, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich gave a few interviews this week, accusing the Christie administration of orchestrating a 2-year courtship of his endorsement, complete with "gifts" and promises for his town.
Governor Christie’s campaign orchestrated an extensive operation over two years that involved gifts to Fort Lee — including Port Authority funded shuttle buses, snow plowing, pothole repair and emergency radios — to convince the borough’s mayor to offer his endorsement of the governor during his reelection campaign, Mayor Mark Sokolich said in his most extensive comments to date on the George Washington Bridge scandal.More below the fold.
When Sokolich did not offer his endorsement, he says he was punished by paralyzing traffic jams at the bridge that were ordered by Christie’s appointees at the Port Authority during five days last September.
You have to wonder why Sokolich didn't come forward, even quietly to investigators, with this sooner. But if this is all true, it could blow a big hole in Christie's entire defense of ignorance: (emphasis mine)
Efforts to gain his endorsement began nearly two years ago and included a personal tour of the 9/11 Memorial plaza in lower Manhattan by David Wildstein, the Port Authority executive who orchestrated the traffic jams.Now the trick is matching all of that with proof, somehow.
Sokolich said two cousins, visiting from Croatia in October 2012, asked to visit the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. So Sokolich telephoned the Port Authority, as he had been told by the agency’s deputy executive director, Bill Baroni if he ever needed a favor.
A few days later, Sokolich and his cousins were given a personal tour of the plaza by Wildstein, then the Port Authority’s director of interstate capital projects.
“I’ve been told to be nice to you,” Sokolich remembers Wildstein saying during that tour.