The Big Sleazy…Jersey Style

Chris_ChristieBY ELAINE MAGLIARO

Last week, Eric Lach of Talking Points Memo (TPM) reported that Randy Mastro, the attorney that had been hired to represent the office of Chris Christie of New Jersey, had asked officials in both Fort Lee and Hoboken “to turn over records of their interactions with reporters covering the multiple Christie scandals.” Mastro is using “the state’s open records law to get the purported victims of Christie’s office to turn over documents” to his legal team.

Lach:

Randy Mastro, the high-priced defense attorney retained by Christie’s office, on Monday filed an open records request with the borough of Fort Lee, the town affected in September by the George Washington Bridge lane closures.

Mastro’s request, which was obtained by TPM, asks for all documents and correspondence held by Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and his staff related to the lane closures (which the request calls a “toll/lane realignment”), endorsements of Christie, meetings with members of Christie’s re-election campaign, and the topic of access lanes to the bridge, generally. It also requests “all documents that Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich or members of his staff provided to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or other local or national print, internet, or television media since September 1, 2013 through the Present, regarding any of the above subjects.” Fort Lee officials are currently reviewing the records request.

Lach said that Mastro had been hired “to help Christie’s office produce documents for the multiple investigations into the lane closures”—but was also “helping the governor’s office with its internal review of the incident.” In addition, Mastro has gotten himself involved with the allegations made by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that Christie’s administration had threatened “to withhold Hurricane Sandy relief aid if she did not support a development project in her city.” According to Shawn Boburg (NorthJersey), Mastro and his legal team “requested a private interview with Zimmer, as well as copies of the documents that Zimmer provided to federal investigators.”

Yesterday, Josh Marshall, editor of TPM, posted an article about how Chris Christie was attempting “to innovate new levels of sleazy power plays and weirdness” into New Jersey Politics. Marshall said that Mastro’s law firm—which is in reality working for Christie—“is using public transparency laws to find out what Christie’s enemies have told the press about him. Or to put it differently, open records laws intended to let people know what the government knows are being used by the government to find out what the people – or more specifically, more junior elected officials and journalists – know about it. That’s amazing.”

And now—in addition to interviewing the mayor of Hoboken, Mastro’s team wants to interview Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. Sokolich has declined the request for an interview.

Josh Marshall:

… But something seems very wrong here. The Governor appears to be using public money to wage it’s [sic] own opposition research effort against his purported victims, the people the retaliation was allegedly meted out against. That would be hardball but not that odd if Christie was paying for these lawyers. But it appears the State of New Jersey is. I don’t know why this isn’t generating more of an uproar.

Something does seem very wrong…indeed!

SOURCES

New Heights for the Big Sleazy (Talking Points Memo)

Christie Lawyer Trying To Find Out What Reporters Have On The Governor (Talking Points Memo)

Lawyers for Christie administration seeking documents, interview with Hoboken mayor (NorthJersey)

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10 Responses to The Big Sleazy…Jersey Style

  1. Elaine M. says:

    Just found this:

    Fort Lee Sends Thousands Of BridgeGate Papers To Christie’s Lawyers (READ)
    Eric Lach
    February 19, 2014
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/fort-lee-mastro-response

    Excerpt:
    The borough of Fort Lee, N.J. on Tuesday responded to an open records request from lawyers representing the office of Gov. Chris Christie (R) by sending them thousands pages of internal documents related to the George Washington Bridge lane closures.

    Earlier this month, attorney Randy Mastro, who has been retained by the governor’s office, asked the borough to produce “any and all” documents and correspondence in its possession related to the lane closures, including documents related to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and and any documents or correspondence related to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and conversations with the Christie campaign or the subject of a Christie endorsement. The request also asked for any related documents that Fort Lee and its officials had released to media outlets, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

    In a response letter to Mastro sent Tuesday, the Fort Lee’s clerk wrote that most of the attorney’s request exceeded the borough’s “statutory obligations” regarding open records. But “notwithstanding,” the borough was producing “documents in its possession where the responsiveness is readily apparent, and which have already been a matter of public record.”

  2. Carterbo says:

    It’s just a matter of time before Christie’s attorney reveals an alarming incident the Fort Lee mayor encountered in high school.

  3. Mike Spindell says:

    Elaine,

    Another apt documenting of the sleazy administration of Christie. Randy Mastro, himself is a politically sleazy guy, who for years has been active in the regions politics. Mastro is a former Chief of Staff to Rudy Giuliani, yet another sleazy politician who started out as a federal prosecutor. Giuliani and Christie’s careers are almost direct parallels of each other in that they used the Federal prosecutorial power to make a name for themselves and leveraged that into important elective office. Both of them have used a crisis situation to then portray themselves as heroic and tried to leverage that into the Presidency. Both men also are famous for their bullying tactics and as servants of those with wealth and power.

  4. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/cnn-gets-into-greg-abbott-s-face-after-tx-goper-palled-around-with-ted-nugent Speaking of sleazy, you can’t get much sleazier than Ted Nugent who is now involved in the Texas governor’s race.

  5. Elaine M. says:

    Mike,

    I think Christie is toast!

    A Cold Welcome for Christie in a Setting He Once Ruled
    By MICHAEL BARBARO
    FEB. 20, 2014
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/21/nyregion/hurricane-sandy-aid-not-bridge-scandal-is-focus-as-christie-meets-voters.html?hpw&rref=nyregion&_r=0

    Excerpt:
    PORT MONMOUTH, N.J. — When Chris Christie started to talk over a complaining questioner, a signature tactic of the bellicose, pre-scandal governor, the audience here briefly turned on him.

    “Answer the question,” some shouted.

    When he took a microphone from a long-winded speaker, the man startled Mr. Christie by snatching it right back.

    And when he singled out a young woman as his inspiration for repairing the Hurricane Sandy-battered coastline, he failed to grasp that the girl’s mother — sitting just a few feet from Mr. Christie — was angry with him for not doing enough.

    “He’s full of it,” she said.

    For the embattled Mr. Christie, bogged down by scandal and dogged by investigations, Thursday was supposed to represent a defiant, maybe even triumphant, return to the town-hall-style meeting, an intimate and comfortable setting in which he could bathe in the adulation of his fans and unleash harsh denunciations of anyone foolhardy enough to challenge him.

    Over the course of four years, and 110 of the cozy sessions — all recorded by aides and quickly uploaded for consumption by his fast-expanding audience — Mr. Christie transformed himself from a little-known former prosecutor into the public face of New Jersey, a national emblem of straight-talking government, and the most forceful presence in the national Republican Party.

    But the two-hour forum here near the Jersey Shore on Thursday, his first since controversy enveloped his administration, demonstrated just how difficult it will be for Mr. Christie to quickly recreate the political magic that once seemed certain to put him in contention for the White House.

    The man who once commanded these rooms just by walking into them seemed unmistakably mortal.

    The event, which was delayed several times by snowstorms, took place in Monmouth County, a location carefully selected to highlight Mr. Christie’s leadership in recovering from Hurricane Sandy. The county was hard-hit by the hurricane, but the governor carried it overwhelmingly in his re-election last fall.

    Yet Mr. Christie arrived amid a flurry of protesters, who waved placards mocking his administration’s role in lane closings at the George Washington Bridge, demanding his resignation over the imbroglio and reminding him that even his musical idol was angry about the issue.

    “Hey Gov,” read one, “Bruce Springsteen hates you.”

  6. Elaine M. says:

    pdm,

    Interesting. Thanks for the link.

  7. Elaine M. says:

    Blouise,

    Thanks for the link!

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