Even Before Fort Lee Lane Closings, Port Authority Was a Christie Tool

A review of the Port Authority’s operations suggests that it had been turned into a de facto political operation for Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey long before the bridge scandal.

Comments: 203

  1. We need to have constant light on the Port Authority. In this way, we can build up pressure to reorganize it to prevent its further use as a private NJ reward agency. The millions we save will pay for the investigation itself. Conflict of interest needs to be enforced totally.

  2. Excellent story, what a shame about the Port Authority. At a time when the region needs infrastructure investment, and pubic service rather than raw politics, Christie has inflicted serious harm on what has been one of the nation's leading public agencies. Of course there always have been politics at the Authority, but Christie's use of it to park his cronies in jobs while dodging his own responsibilities to raise revenues and fix New Jersey's roads and infrastructure is a new low. And all the while, he exploits the Port to polish his fake public image as a truth-teller and advocate for the people. Next time you're stuck in too much tunnel traffic, or come into the lousy regional airports that are so much worse than those in developing countries, think about what the Port Authority should be doing, and what Christie has done to its professionalism.

  3. Great reporting! Thanks for this.

  4. Thank you for continuing to focus on the corruption in the Christie administration. As someone who voted for his opponent twice, and never succumbed to the Christie "charm", all I can say is that I wish all of this scrutiny had come sooner when it had a chance to prevent his re-election. The media, including the NYT, remained in Christie's thrall while he played every dirty trick in the book and shouted anyone who dared to question him down. At least these revelations may prevent this ego-driven bully from being a viable candidate for President, which was always a laughable prospect at best.

  5. And so we ask, yet again, where was Mr. Cuomo and the NY side of the PA? It's all well and good for Mr. Foye to say that Mr. Samson lacks moral authority and point out that the lane closures may have been criminal, but he's apparently not pushed back in a meaningful way against this corruption. Perhaps he believed that he had no choice because playing along with these shenanigans was the price for getting the World Trade Center rebuilt.

  6. Where was Cuomo when all this was happening and where is his outrage now that this is all coming to light? It would be interesting to see what he got in exchange for his silence?

  7. How Chris Christie, Bill Baroni, David Wildstein, Samson, and Bridge-gate Anne Kelly aren't in prison already for obvious federal and state felonies is beyond me.

  8. Patience. Investigations ongoing. The law moves slowly. But it is moving.

  9. There are jurisdiction issues, too. The feds issued a subpoena to Samson yesterday, then withdrew it, apparently to cede to the state investigation. This is a humongous mess.

    To those who think it doesn't affect the rest of the country: if you buy any goods and services that pass through or utilise any of the properties in the control of PA NY/NJ, the financial doings of that agency definitely hit you in the pocketbook.

  10. The feds are being smart here. The more stuff their investigation reveals about Christie, the more evidence/witnesses they'll have to build a bulletproof case he can't bully, bribe, or connive his way out of.

  11. Organized crime should learn from Governor Christie, a very efficient mafioso. Can't wait For his indictment.

  12. This story has been evolving at fast pace. The GWB scandal has shed a light on all the the governor's cronyism and back door dealings. Hopefully this will inform people throughout the country that Christie is a typical politician that is susceptible to corruption and scandal like so many others that currently hold an office in our government. The Port Authority is just the tip of the iceberg for misaligning funds to make he budgets look like he is saving the state money, when in actuality he is charging the credit card just like he predecessors. Which is his MO. He has accused the President of lack of leadership, he has accused his predecessors of running up debt without paying for it, and he has blamed the public worker for consuming large amounts of resources with little or no return on investment. He has given new meaning to the word "hypocrite".

  13. I have to disagree with your statement that Christie is a "typical" politician. Unfortunately, He is many times more corrupt than the typical politician in this country. This is an arrogant, greedy, power hungry menace who hates his own constituents unless they fully endorse his policies. We have seen that he is willing and eager to punish anyone who gets in his way. Unfortunately, he is leaving NJ in financial ruin during his dictatorship.

  14. Imagine what he could have done from the West Wing.

  15. a meeting on monday he said
    no topic resides in his head
    you might guess as you will
    such a personal thrill
    to cancel, leave doubt in its stead.

  16. Another over-hyped politician exposed for what he really is a typical politician. Even more the real Chris Christie once again exposes the shallowness of our political system when prior to Bridgegate he was given almost god like stature at least within Republican circles and among Jerseyites generally. Why ? Because he was good at being obnoxious to his critics at public gatherings and because he milked Sandy every way conceivable.

    The lesson for Christie is that he should have capitalized on his bogus image and run for President in 2012 when he had a chance to win the nomination rather than being so full of himself he thought he could wait until later. Now he has no chance of becoming President thank God.

  17. Baroni the hack screaming at Lautenberg, a WW2 combat veteran, is illustrative of the depths to which politics has descended with people like Christie and Cruz in office. My wish is that investigators and attorneys in the Civil Service agencies like the FBI and AG's offices dig and dig and root out every corrupt, egotistical wise guy and gal and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. The only way to clean up politics is to get the money out and make the law breakers pay dearly for their hubris. And I suspect Mr. Chrisite is a true King of Hubris.

  18. Thanks - proper journalism, information that we need but otherwise can't obtain.

  19. People are little more than puppets, apparently.

  20. And what has been A Cuomo's role
    Just playing Patsy on the whole?
    While Chris Christie plunders
    Our Gov Cuomo blunders,
    For NY a sizable toll!!

  21. There's nothing new to be learned about the abuses of the various "authorities" not only in NJ but also NY. The constant increases in the bridge and tunnel tolls for projects that were completed and paid for decades ago is a constant source of irritation for drivers. The Delaware River Port Authority with PA and DE is another source of political chicanery on the NJ's southern end. Throw in the Turnpike Authority and you are talking about huge sums of money to used by all four states for what ever purposes they want. Noticed that it's free to drive into NJ but you have to pay to get out? We do so gladly.

  22. As much as the NY Times insists on it's witch hunt, this isn't playing in the rest of the country.

  23. I assure you that we are indeed listening out here--and it's not like Oklahoma is that keen on staying in touch with doings in New York City. But this? We wouldn't miss it for the world.

  24. The original Puck could put a girdle round the earth in 40 mnutes. However, you don't get out much, do you? This is a huge and complicated story in NJ. Nor is it only the NYT covering it; on the contrary, the NYT is the 'me too' paper on the beat.
    And all over the country, in fact the world, people have heard of this. And across America people are asking themselves, if this is how Christie runs a state, how would he run the country? When I was young, my mother counseled me to watch how a prospective beau treats waiters and animals, because whatever he is on a small scale, he will size up.

  25. Stay tuned for criminal indictments. And this abuse of power is taking a significant toll ( pun intended) on Christie's 2016 presidential ambitions. Check the polls.

  26. If he doesn't go to jail, what does this say to our children?

  27. Too big to fail?

  28. There is an inherent flaw in the structure and management of the Port Authority when its mission can be subverted without any public input or oversight.
    Your coverage of this bi-state agency in critical in forcing reform. I urge you to continue the effort.

  29. Port Authority? Small potatoes.
    Thing what he could do with the War Department!

    A typical "wise guy," albeit a smooth talking one.

  30. And this is a frontrunner among Republican Presidential nomination candidates for 2016!

  31. These revelations strengthen the case that Gov Christie is unfit for office. Thank you for pursuing this.

    But what took me by surprise was how Gov Cuomo himself partnered with Gov Christie to manipulate public opinion on toll increases, so as to jointly burnish their image:

    "The day before...the vote on the increase, Mr. Christie and Mr. Cuomo released a letter declaring that they had found a way to lower the toll increases — for cars, the cost would go up $4.50 by 2015, rather than $6 by 2014. 'We are pleased that our work together resulted in lowering of the original toll increase,' they said."

    This is appalling: a pair of governors from two different states knew full well that they did no such thing, that this was a total lie, and that the entire set of events was orchestrated just to fool NJ and NY voters, treating us all like rubes.

    This is an assault on integrity in public discourse and is far more serious than a mere toll increase. How dare they?

    Gov Cuomo needs to answer for his own role in this charade.

    The thing about lying in politics is that once a politician is caught at it, nothing else that he or she says can be trusted.

    Gov Cuomo may have just reached this point, fittingly, in a team effort with his good friend, Gov Christie.

    Now let's see him talk his way out of this. Because the evidence presented here doesn't look good, and we New Yorkers are entitled to answers from our own governor for his role in this outrageous attempt to dupe us.


  32. And just where is the governor of New York through all of this? The Port Authority is a joint covenant between the two states, but it appears that Andrew Cuomo just sits on his hands and allows New Jersey to run wild.

  33. I was listening the other day to a radio report -in the car thus details are a bit thin - but essentially about how governing the Port Authority BEFORE this particular scandal required matched legislation involving cooperation both stete legislatures and both governors. What I got was that Christie squelched it - by asserting that he wanted "more reform" he blocked any reforms.

    But I do wonder where exactly Cuomo was and how it could be possible that there is no NYS audit trail reflecting how this semiautonomous " duchy" is regulated and controlled.

  34. Or he's in cahoots.

  35. Cuomo must benefit from this blind eye or he wouldn't do it.

  36. Not to be outdone, South Jersey has the Delaware River Port Authoirty, North Jersey's counterpart. It, too, is filled with endless overpaid patronage jobs, outsized tolls unrelated to bride requirements, poor & lax management, and fiscal irresponsibility. It funds projects miles from the port with nothing to do with transportation. It runs a corrupt organization under both Democrats and Republicans. Indeed, NJ is a cesspool of corruption with astoundingly high taxes.

  37. Hard not to be struck by the almost gleeful contempt of the public that was manifest in such maneuvers as the "knocked-down" toll increase. It's that contempt and the hubris it bred in these "players" that led to their over-reaching in the lane closure of the GWB.

    If they had started out noble, it would be suitable for a Greek play; but they didn't. And now it's a grim farce instead.

  38. I wonder how much money could be saved by conducting chronic ethical and financial audits of all governmental functions.

    It appears that a nearly effortless check would find lots of inappropriate or outright corrupt activities.

    Corporations are required to certify their financial statements and are subject to routine audits. Imagine the good that could be derived by forcing audits in the public sector.

    Daylight is the best disinfectant !

  39. "Just thinking" is the only comment worthy of attention here. All the other comments are from Democratic puppets who will do anything, and I do mean anything, to see that Christie does not get the presidential nomination. Sadly, the NYT does not get high marks in unbiased political reporting.

  40. Yeah well the politicians make it their mission to strip all regulatory agencies of the necessary funding.

    Then they cry about the job-killing regulations. The thing is, the people see through it and know they can do nothing about it.

  41. The auditors will work for free? And then you will complain about the cost of periodic, regular, or continuous (not chronic -wrong word; we need to retain the vocabulary section of the SAT) audits.

    BTW 'sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants' is a quote from Justice Louis Brandeis. (This is why we call the laws that guaantee the press and public access to government documents and meetings 'sunshine laws'. He also coined 'the right to privacy ... the right to be let alone'.) If he were alive today he'd undoubtedly be in favour of turning over all the rocks, but I doubt he'd be siding with the current GOP:
    Who on our current SCOTUS could stand beside him? Even the best would be dwarfed.

  42. The Port Authority is nothing more than a fiefdom, and should be taken out of the control of these incompetents who have proven that power corrupts. The PA is supposed to serve the people - instead we have three of the worst airports in the world, 1930's tunnels and bridges and a WTC that took more than a decade to build. Oh yeah, and we get sideshows like the one Christie and his prison-bound cronies played with the GWB. Dismantle the Port Authority and start from scratch.

  43. We deserve this treatment.

    These Authorities were established because Democracies can not agree to do anything right and Politicians are gutless to do anything right. So we establish these Authorities to protect Politicians to do the necessary dirty work. The MTA is another one.

    Look in the mirror for whom to blame.

  44. Anybody but Christie. That's who's at fault for Christie's malefactions. There's a whole list in these comments from Christie's die-hard pals about who's really at fault. But Patrick, I assure you, I had nothing to do with it. Obama had nothing to do with it. The commenters here? Nothing.

    It's him, buddy. It's him.

  45. Connecting the Port Authority and Tammany Hall, says it all. This further expose of Christie corruption pulls the curtain back yet a little more on how sadly some elected officials abuse the trust of citizens. I am so thankful for this excellent reporting...the Fourth Estate is our most valuable branch of government!

  46. Take it from a lifelong resident of New York, the other state involved. Governor Andrew Cuomo doesn't emerge from a truly thorough investigation with clean hands, either. The article rather elides over Cuomo's seemingly willing participation in what is presented as Christie's pump fake on the 2014 fare increase on PA bridges and tunnels, which was first floated as $6 (per round trip) increase, and then "reduced" to the already known level of $4, to save political face. That face saving extended across the river, where Governor Cuomo is very busy himself trying to burnish his credentials as a Democrat with cutting taxes (but not tolls or fees) and being business friendly. It would have been interesting to see a Christie-Cuomo matchup just to see how each would attempt to tar the other with long term misdeeds at the Port Authority.

  47. Just a thought -- having seen that ousted Ukraine President Yanukovych on the news this AM - he has nothing to do, perhaps he would be perfect replacement for the ousted Christie aides and appointees. There should be a really short learning curve for him. . .

  48. Why no mention of Christie’s scuttling of the proposed - and largely to be federally funded - new tunnel linking NJ/NYC and some consideration of the possibility that it would have diluted the control he holds over the existing passages? Seems to be his axing of such a clearly needed new transit had far more sub rosa significance than the public face he put on it.

  49. No, Jerry. It's clearly mentioned in the article:
    "In 2010, Mr. Christie canceled construction on a planned railroad tunnel under the Hudson River that would have eased congestion for Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains, and used $1.8 billion that the Port Authority had planned to spend on it to fill the trust fund."
    Christie got extremely lucky that the Federal government failed in its effort to claw back the money it had already spent on the ARC tunnel, on which construction had already begun.

  50. Nauseating to see how Christie has used his power and the people's money to further his own career and line his friends' pockets rather than do what's best and fair for the people of NJ. Clearly the man should be tossed from office and NJ government needs more transparency and accountability. And what about Cuomo, who played along? Is there no such thing as integrity in politics?

  51. And some people think politics isn't a dirty business.

  52. So what your saying is that nothing has changed in the State of Corruption. It's always been this way and evidently it will always be this way.

  53. Russia does not have a monopoly on oligarchs.

  54. Yes, thank you for your simple, straight forward coverage. I don't live in the region, but I am glad this man is being exposed before he wastes the country's time in a bid for the presidency. Chrisitie's contrived comments about the toll increases show that he is not a person we can trust.

  55. The Port Authority's revenue does not come from "tolls and taxes". Having no power of taxation in either state, it's revenue comes from tolls and from rents and fees from businesses and individuals using Port Authority property or services. I'm surprised that no Port Authority bond holders have sued the agency over the misapplication of funds for projects like the Pulaski Skyway. That happened when it took over the money-losing H&M Railroad (now PATH) from New Jersey to gain its agreement to spend billions in New York State to build the original World Trade Center. The settlement of that suit limited future investment of Port Authority funds to projects more consistent with the Port Authority's original 1921 compact between the two states, which had been ratified by the US Congress.

  56. The whole lot of crooks, Chairman Samson, Governor Christie and all of their political cronies appointed to the Port Authority should be removed from the public payroll. Apparently, Christie's national popularity and power base made him a man that even powerful Governor Cuomo couldn't say "No" to. Thank goodness Christie and his friends that crawl on their bellies are effectively done with their political careers. Amazing the level of greed in the private sector where they will find financially lucrative "safe landings." Baroni already has a new job with Princeton-based law firm Hill-Wallack (gives you an indication how sleazy this law firm is). And to top it off, using the connection to 9/11 and WTC for personal greed as a trading chip? Can you get any lower? Please, whatever the process, let's get rid of these low-life political deadbeats and their cronies from feeding at the public trough. Yes, I don't want one more penny of my tax dollars going to these people. They already probably have great enhanced pension benefits for life based on Baroni's PA salary of $280,000. Imagine, this guy may get a Port Authority pension some day soon in excess of $200k per year. How can that be????

  57. Wow. I was particularly enraged by the governor's motives for chucking the tunnel project that would have brought relief to New Jersey's commuters. He basically killed a long-term project that would have been beneficial to generations of future New Jersey residents to pad a trust fund from which he could fund local favors to build political goodwill. Unfortunately, Mr. Christie's activities seem to qualify him for national office. His me-first attitude is typical of Washington politicians, most of whom wouldn't support world peace if they felt it would rob them of vote-attracting saber rattling down the road.

  58. No. The new tunnel is a sham. The train line was poorly planned and actually led to Macy's basement in Manhattan- not a transit hub. The cost was outrageous and could not be justified. Get a clue before posting.
    This article is riddled with factual errors!

  59. @Matt. You do realize that the area beneath Macy's is next door to Penn Station? That the tunnel project between Penn Station and NJ was imperfect, I have no doubt. We are talking about the Port Authority. I'm sure the appointees who designed the project were just as pliable to political pressures as Christie's appointees. That's not to suggest that had New Jersey elected a different governor, the project would have been improved and then approved. It's ridiculous to suggest that an expanded and improved PATH system would not benefit thousands and eventually millions of commuters -- not to mention putting tons of people to work. If that's not a worthy ambition of a governor of a commuter state, I don't know what is.

  60. We laughed through "American Hustle". It wasn't all that funny when you think about Chris Christie, was it?

  61. I still can't understand why the known participants who instituted this scandal have not been charged with crimes. If the federal prosecutors were to do this, these conspirators will sing and we will then get to the bottom of this.

  62. What law or statutes were violated? Please be specific?

  63. @Matt. It's funny that you bring this up. Technically, you're probably right -- no laws were broken by the Governor of New Jersey when he misrepresented the role he played in a major toll hike. Now, if McDonalds had done something like that in its advertising, the FCC would be all over it with fines and lawsuits. Why we don't impose the same truth-telling standards on our elected officials, I have no idea. And, while it's not a statute, I tend to think that the breaking of the public trust (lying to your constituents) is the biggest crime a politician can commit.

  64. They are gathering evidence, which can take a while, especially when people challenge subpoenas (thanks for dragging your feet Ms. Kelly) and use every other tool available to avoid coming clean (I have never seen more heavily redacted documents). Then the government will weigh the likelihood of winning their case in court, because they will not want to waste taxpayers' money if the case is not strong enough to prove in court (which is frustrating but as a taxpayer, I can appreciate). But I am glad they are working on it. Is there a class action lawsuit against the Port Authority?

  65. Cancel the new tunnel infrastructure investment for the benefit of New York and New Jersey. Then take the money for New Jersey transportation trust fund. Questionable long term thinking? I only wonder if Jerry Nadler has enough gas in his tank to push again for that tunnel investment. C'mon Jerry. C'mon Jerry.

  66. Not surprising, but altogether sickening from the fake outrage about the toll increases, to the patronage jobs, and worst of all, dancing on the graves of those who died on 9/11. Truly despicable.

  67. Headline:
    Port Authority Mired in New Jersey Swamp of Corruption

    After what this corruption has done to our city and region, you would think any responsible elected official, especially from New York would be demanding reform for this patronage mill agency.

    Instead we have deliberate silence and obfuscation from Andrew Cuomo.

    He should be ashamed of himself - and we should be ashamed of him.

  68. I must have missed the part of the article that addressed whether there was merit in raising the Bayonne Bridge. Or whether there were or were not legitimate reasons for the PA to finance the Pulaski Skyway.

    Eh, minor details when we can attack attack attack.

  69. You missed it because it's irrelevant. Focus.

  70. Not so minor when the Port Authority is not supposed to have anything to do with New Jersey-only projects. Or perhaps you'd rather that your tax dollars in New Jersey be used to refurbish the Henry Hudson Parkway or the New York State Thruway?

  71. You missed them because there were none. Both are clearly, the total responsibility of New Jersey, ignored for years. Defenders of Christie are either pro corruption or simply identify with him. There is something radically wrong here and the article barely touches the surface. The amount of political appointed positions has grown tremendously and the average salary is beyond belief.

  72. I find it hard to believe that this kind of abuse of power and of the Port Authorities resources is new. It's time to push for a full reorganization of the Authority and for greater accountability and transparency. This is our money being used and abused for political gain.

  73. A piggy bank for Chris Christie
    It makes a New Yorker's eyes misty,
    Cuomo slept at the switch
    As that cash was drained which
    Would be there if he was two fisty!

  74. NPR radio did an excellent investigative report regarding the Hudson River toll hikes way back at the end of January or early February. Where were the press back then? The toll hikes were almost "incidental" while the Bridgegate investigation took center stage in the press. The toll hike incident should make every commuter furious, because all the political shenanigans are being financed by the already overburdened taxpayers and commuters.

  75. Isn't NPR radio part of "the press"?

  76. Since Christie took office, I have thought he was unfit. I thought he was a bully. I thought he was self-serving. I thought he pandered to the far Right at times. I thought he let his Presidential aspirations guide his opinions and actions. But I didn't think he was corrupt. All that has changed. After reading the news the last few months, I have come to the conclusion that Christie and his administration are corrupt. "The fish stinks from the head" is an apt saying here. I am once again embarrassed by a corrupt NJ official who makes my home state look bad.

  77. The ferocity with which Democrats, The Times and other liberal media outlets are going after Christie on a daily basis is indicative of how much they fear him and his agenda. If only these same Christie bashers would spend one tenth as much time holding Obama's feet to the fire for his outright lies and deception on any number of issues such as the failure to protect our diplomats in Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservatives, the Fast & Furious sale of weapons to drug cartels in Mexico, Obamacare, the miserable economy, Solyndra, the 50% increase in federal debt during his presidency, and a myriad of other failures, many of which caused the actual deaths of Americans. But they prefer to focus like a laser on the closing of a couple of lanes of traffic to a bridge. Priorities are not exactly a Democrat strong suit, but gotcha politics sure is.

  78. I couldn't have said it better myself. And I'm sure that if the protagonist in this drama were named, oh, say Hillary Clinton, we would be reading about how this behavior is simply evidence that she's tough enough to take on those oh-so-evil Republicans. The lack of subtlety on the part of the NYT plus the lack of self-awareneness on the part of most of the commenters (so far) is breathtaking.

  79. Benghazi is an excuse to give Christie a pass on corrupting the Port Authority? You can't be serious!

  80. It is incumbent upon citizens to discern evidence from accusations and to follow the evidence to supportable conclusions. There really are such things as facts.

  81. Who would ever work for Christie after he has shown his complete lack of loyalty to his closest employees? He's thrown more people under the bus than anyone I can think of.

  82. Why is any of this a surprise? For anyone living near a Port Authority Project, one needs only to observe to see how badly run the agency is. I live near the Port Authority on 42nd St and I watched as high rise after high rise went up all around the area, while whatever supposed renovation of the Port Authority building with it's various detours and scaffolds went on and on and on and to some degree still does. Executives taking trips on public funds in the name of Port Authority business and all manner of corruption scandals and bribes etc come year after year and no one goes to jail, and things quiet down until the next rock is turned over and something else crawls out. New Yorkers have put up with this silently for decades and no changes have been made, nor has the PA been overhauled from top to bottom. Maybe we just deserve what we get.

  83. Obviously, Gov. Cuomo has some "splainin" to do regarding toll increases, let's get that out if the way. For Chris Christie apologists this a fig leaf to hide beneath, but the obvious use of Port Authority monies to pay for highway projects, the cancellation of the tunnel under the Hudson River to ease train congestion to obtain the funds to do so, cannot be hidden anymore. Christie stuffed the Port Authority with patronage personnel all the while playing the fiscal conservatve. He bamboozled the easily bamboozled press with his blunt rudeness which somehow enchanted them. Thankfully, all this led to a sense that he could get away with anything and the gang went too far. I think we all see now who lied and who was stupid and it wasn't Bridget Ann Kelly.

  84. Are we surprised? If someone acts so out of control and abusive in full public view, what do you think they are doing behind what they believe are closed doors? Another in a long line of impressive possible Republican presidential candidates... Perry, Cain, Santorum, Bachmann, etc.

  85. Dear NYT, please investigate Cuomo's role (or lack thereof) in all this. The Port Authority is meant to be jointly-run. Why was NY letting NJ get away with this?

  86. That is an excellent question. Cuomo and Christie jointly issued the false statement implying that they knew nothing about the proposed toll increase. No action by the Port Authority's commissioners EVER gets on the agenda without complete, advanced vetting with both governors. Neither governor wants the other to veto an action taken by the board. Cuomo may not have devised the charade, but he certainly signed on to it. Funny how good, honest political judgment can go out the window when a prospective presidential campaign is in the offing.

  87. Different names....same old politics. As my mom once said...."Empty barrels make the most noise". The "Christie Minstrels" are cacophonous.

  88. This is a most ridiculous article. NYT trying to keep this at the forefront, since so far, the investigation has revealed nothing. If this is corruption, then every state in the Union has their hands full...lest we mention the qualifications of our ambassadors...and those people our president would give a job...depending on how much they donated.
    Why isn't that newsworthy?

  89. If it hasn't been in the news, Kimbo, how do you know about it?

  90. Such an old trick. Overcharging [taxing too much] and then cutting the price [the tax] to be a hero.

    This kind of gamesmanship is everywhere.

    My daughter got an acceptance letter from a college (that charges a ridiculous tuition) with a "coupon" for an immediate $13,000 "scholarship."

    Don't buy it.

  91. Seems like Governor Christie was a typical Republican executive, using the institutions of power for personal advancement. Just like GWB, who invaded Iraq, sent his friend Paul Bremmer to set up the CPA and apply all the new-con theories about limited Government and unfettered free enterprise. How did Iraq turn out? Any comments from the AEI, Freedom Works or other neocon "think" tanks (an oxymoron if ever there was one). All I hear are crickets...

  92. I believe that during the GW Bridge - Fort Lee traffic jams, an ambulance was late to arrive at the home of an elderly woman who died due to the delay in receiving medical care.

    Can we please see some indictments for manslaughter?

    Dan Kravitz

  93. Her familty says they don't believe the delay was a contributing factor. However, the jam just made her last hours that much more miserable. She was probably a Buono voter anyway.

  94. @ACW, actually her daughter said she'd voted for Christie.

  95. 'turning wreckage of the twin towers into politically motivated gifts. What additional 'gifts' were bestowed that made the new twin towers of German steel and Chinese glass-- also covered by increasing the tolls.

  96. I believe the history of establishment of the Port Authority and other similar public authorities in NYS was the handiwork of Robert Moses.

    As described in Robert Caro's book on Moses, through the establishment of these agencies, controlled by him, Moses was able to utilize toll and other monies to amass enormous funding accounts. While some monies were used for maintenance of roadways, bridges, parks he constructed, they were also used for the demolition of entire NYC neighborhoods. He was a master politician who was able to convince the populous that his public works projects were in their best interests

    Most importantly, with these enormous sums of money that by law (written by him) were shielded from public scrutiny, Moses was thought by many to be the most powerful political figure in NYS until reigned in by Nelson Rockefeller.

    When reading the latest manipulation of Port Authority monies, one immediately harks back to the Moses "Reign of Terror." It is high time that the whole issue of public authorities that seemingly are "out of sight, but not out of mind" be given a thorough public airing. Not only in NJ, but in NYS.

    They, the authorities, are and have been, sites for political wheeling and dealing for almost a century. I am particularly appalled by Cuomo's cooperation with Christie in this entire scenario.

    As stated, history has a way of repeating itself. But the history of the various authorities currently still existent, needs a thorough scrutiny.

  97. Whateverr good or bad he did, Robert Moses was never a part of the Port Authority.

  98. This shows the outright fraud inherent in the hysteria of "no new taxes" perpetuated by both Christie and Cuomo.

    The first thing Christie did when he took office was to kill the Hudson River tunnel that would have eased congestion for Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains, and use the $1.8 billion that the Port Authority had planned to spend on it to fill the trust fund.

    And, don't forget, Christie lied and said that the reason he killed the tunnel was that NJ would have to shoulder too much of the cost of building the tunnel.

    In the aftermath, Senator Lautenberg requested a report, which showed that NJ residents would have shouldered 14% of the cost instead of the 70% projected by the governor. Of course, Christie lied about the report as well and said he stood by his claim, in spite of the report! All for his longterm view to run for President on a no-new-taxes platform.

    I never understood how the press and the public allowed him to get away with this.

  99. Nice try NYT.Not even a pretense of objectivity.The PA has been rife with cronyism,nepotism and patronage since the day it was formed.It has been a ''Tool'' of both parties on both sides of the river forever.Anybody who as ever paid a toll knows that.

  100. Not true. It wasn't until the states of NJ & NJ backed off on their commitment to occupy substantial office space in the original World Trade Center and were allowed to pocket the difference between the bargain rents they would have paid and the much higher rents they got from subleasing the space did the states notice that, at a time when both state's finances were in trouble, the Port Authority had substantial, reliable revenues that they could tap into. Peter Goldmark, who was Executive Director at the time and didn't forsee this, had even threatened to resign if he was forced to hire a political hack to a high-paying Port Authority job. The governor (NJ, I believe) backed down and Goldmark stayed. Nothing like what has happened since then would have occurred when Austin Tobin ran the Authority from the '40's to the '70's.

  101. This is also true of the Delaware River Port Authority, shared by politicians between NJ and Pa. The monies raised by taxes and fares have always been used as these state Governors personal cookie jars.

  102. Can someone explain how New Jersey apparently hijacked the Port Authority from New York? And correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall pieces of the trade center being sent to Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and other parts of New York, like they were sent to different towns in Jersey. Using the trade center tragedy for political purposes is revolting.
    I would hope this sordid fiasco will wake up New York officials, and they will put an end to this mess.

  103. Pieces of the trade center were sent to many different towns in New York - take a look around at nearly every memorial built in individual towns on LI and in Westchester and you will find mangled pieces of steel. This is not just a New Jersey thing. It is also not necessarily a bad thing - plenty of people from the suburbs died that day, and their hometowns wish to memorialize them.

  104. So, when will Christie be investigated?

  105. Nothing will come of this, he's a Republican. If he was a democrat they'd tar and feather him in the media and then he'd have to resign but that's not the case with Regressives, you watch. He'll come through unscathed. He'll throw a few of his lackeys under the bus, and then the Republicans will be cheering him on like he's the messiah when really he's nothing more than a thug.

  106. So the Fox got into the hen house of New Jersey and then the Port Authority. I would think it is time for the Port Authority to split as they have been abused by Christie and friends. And Christie almost got into the biggest hen house in the world, the White House. WOW!!!!

  107. Christie needed to be humbled, but this article is odd. It makes it seem as if demanding improvements to the Bayonne Bridge and Pulaski Skyway in exchange for re-building the WTC (which, for all the fanfare, was 40% vacant as recently as last year), or giving "wreckage" out as gifts as opposed to the perks that the other mayors received, are breathtakingly bad things for NJ residents. They even quote the Mayor of Paramus in a manner that tries to suggest something, but then they have him acknowledging that nothing changed when he did not endorse Christie. Seems a little bit obsessive to me, just like the Republicans on Benghazi.

  108. How to spell 'corruption'? 'Christie's Administration', of course. The removal of the architects of the Bridgegate fiasco does not tell the whole story, not by a long shot. Christie and all his close allies, if shame were a deterrent, should resign, after apologizing to New Jersey. The abuse of power is so destructive that it may be called 'business as usual' by some cynics. Strong regulation is essential; and yet, sorely lacking. Hoboken, another mafia-like enterprise, Samson in the middle of it and financially savvy to boot, so far. And Sandy's secret and suspect money disbursement? How long before we see some justice? Is impunity the order of the day? Sure hope not.

  109. To all those of you whining about the behavior of Governor Christie and his appointees to the Port authority: Come on already. It's New Jersey for crying out loud, what did you expect? The only rivals to Jersey are ... New York, Illinois, Texas, Florida, California ...

  110. The way of the world is to trade favors to build influence and power. Chris Christie is a 'realist' engaging in machinations that reflect the way power is actually achieved and used. We can protest and we can seek principled governance based on the needs of the people but the reality is otherwise. Deception and backdoor clandestine dealings to force outcomes is not just the way of the mob. It is the way of the world and certainly in politics the one who is most skillful at such dealings wins until he is exposed. To expose these seamy and slimy modes is our only weapon against what in another context would reveal Christie to be a 'crime lord'.

  111. Governor Christie's enthusiastic reception at the CPAC meeting last weekend indicates that conservatives love corruption if it furthers their goals. So the true goals of the CPAC can not include cutting spending and downsizing government, even though these goals are constantly touted as the primary focus. I think conservatives have become, as Jefferson called it, "fit tools for the designs of ambition," in this case Mr. Christie's ambition.

  112. Of course they love Christie and corruption. Remember this is the same party that's trying desperately to curtail voting in MANY states

  113. As someone who commutes across the GWB on a daily basis, it's nice to know that I am paying an extra $1000 per year in tolls so that Chris Christie can re-build the Pulaski Skyway, raise the Bayonne Bridge, and run the Atlantic City Airport--facilities I never use--without raising taxes.

    According to a report last night on National Public Radio, both the New York and New Jersey legislatures passed a Port Authority reform bill, but the bill was vetoed by Governor Christie. Perhaps the legislature should try again to override that veto, or pass the bill again and dare the governor to veto it a second time--this time, with the whole country watching.

  114. I get the feeling about Gov. Christie, that the more rocks we uncover, the more creepy, crawling, rather disgusting things we're going to find. I was appalled to find out he closed the GWB as political revenge, pointlessly messing up peoples lives for days (and I have no doubt by now that he did it, personally gave the order). I didn't think that he had also used pieces of the WTC as special favors, or withheld them from people he was peeved at. What kind of person, from this area, plays petty politics with physical aspects of 9/11?

    And so he was using the Port Authority for all he could milk from it, and his entire governance seems built on thuggery, revenge, intimidation, lies, and greed for power.

    This is clearly the front-runner for the Republican party in '16, he truly embodies all their core principles.

  115. It says a lot about the state of the current GOP that some people keep dismissing this as a trivial matter or a witch hunt, trying to prop him up. Apparently he is the best they've got and there's no one else they see as even remotely electable in 2016.

  116. Dan Stackhouse:

    Christie TRIES to come off as reasonable and acting in the public's best interest (if you listen to his self-characterization), but when you draw back the curtain in Oz ... err ... New Jersey, his is just a charlatan who tells you not to believe what you see.

    He should have read the book, or paid more attention to the movie. Now he gets to live it. He will be a political joke for the rest of time. ("I am trying to lose weight I said that you should close the FRIDGE.")

  117. I'm shocked, shocked that a politician would use his power over various authorities or agencies to enhance his own electoral prospects, reward political friends and allies, etc.

    I suppose there's no record of Democrats like FDR or LBJ ever doing this. Or of Pres. Obama making exceptions for his union allies over their Obamacare complaints.

    I suppose the difference is that Republican activities of this sort get investigated and reported, while those of Democrats aren't worth reporting.

  118. We all understand that Republicans see nothing wrong with the mobster tactics used by Christie and his henchmen. "Everybody does it."

  119. A government is a living thing and requires constant defense against the infection of corruption, whatever its source. Or, as our mothers told us, two wrongs don't make a right.

  120. Tom Silver:

    I am shocked that a politician is dumb enough to do it and think nobody will notice, especially when he holds himself out as such a fiscal conservative and "the government is spending too much money" kind of guy.

    Or didn't you notice that minor inconsistency? Huh?

  121. This is exactly how the Triboro Authority was used under Robert Moses-- albeit with less subtly and skill. Moses even did business with the Port Authority. The authority, the "fourth branch of government", is unaccountable to voters and, because its tolls generate steady revenue, able to make huge bond issuances that can be used for political empire building. See Robert Caro's magnificent "The Power Broker," which explains this process in 1920s - 1950s New York. Once Moses built the first deck of the Henry Hudson Bridge, he could borrow based on its toll revenue, making him the most solvent player in the State. The process was repeated with Triboro on a much larger scale.

  122. @Changes: Austin Tobin, the very long time Executive Director of the Port Authority, and, in his mind, a rival of Moses', is the man responsible for getting the Port Authority out of its legal portfolio and into the business of real estate development with the World Trade Center. Here is a long, very interesting analysis written by the Times' legendary Architecture Critic Ada Louise Huxtable. link: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=F10C12FE3D5D13778DDDA00A94D...
    It is more interesting for the planning issues she raised than for the consideration of the architecture. It is a stark reminder how unloved the Twin Towers were for many years of their existence, and it is worth remembering that it was an actual white elephant until Nelson Rockefeller agreed to move a multitude of state offices into it. Regarding the architecture, Huxtable mused whether they might be "the world's largest tombstones." Unloved, but with a shiver of prescience.

  123. Perhaps you might mention that the "public authority" was supposed to be a temporary entity existing for the construction, paying off the lenders and then turning the facility over to the City which, in the con, was to get something for nothing. We're still paying.

  124. I cannot imagine being a family member of someone killed in the World Trade Center terrorist attack and reading that debris from the destruction was used as trophies to lure politicians into licking the boots of the governor. It really is stomach turning.

  125. Claim 1) Christie gave pieces from 9/11 to Mayors he was trying to build a relationship with. Issues: If true, no problem with this claim (henceforth 0 issues).
    Claim 2) Mayors who did not get memorial pieces got tours or firefighters. Issue with former: 0, latter: would need more (hopefully will come)
    Claim 3) Wildstein is a close Christie friend. Issue: Seems as likely that Louis Lerner is a confidant of Obama. Definitely in the Port Authority, but relationship to the executive is NOT cut and dry.
    Claim 4) Two Christie supporters were appointed to the Port Authority, an organization that has “significant opportunities for funding projects in the State of New Jersey.” Issues: 0, do you really have issue with that?
    Claim 5) New Jersey wanted to have similar amounts of spending in its state by the Port Authority as NY. Even worse is the funding of the Pulaski Skyway, as it does not touch New Jersey. Issue: The Pulaski Skyway is a bridge that significantly affects the Traffic on (and is an extension on) the Holland Tunnel on the Jersey side. Claiming it has nothing to do with NY or Manhattan traffic is disingenuous at best. Also, I have no problem with a Governor advocating for construction in his state, particularly from an organization that is supposed to fund construction in New Jersey.

  126. Issue: you've chosen to support Gov. Christie regardless of the facts, and are happy to contort them into any configuration that will make him seem innocent. Good luck with that, some people still think Nixon didn't order Watergate too.

  127. "Eric W " -- Identify your team affiliation. I don't think you will.

  128. This logic would put the Port Authority on the hook for the costs of filling potholes in downtown Newark. The legal agenda of the Port Authority is pretty well defined, even if it is not always followed as closely as it should be.

  129. Christie is manipulative and self serving but that doesn't distinguish him from many politicians in government these days. I am not excusing his behavior but he certainly is not unique in pork barrel spending, granting political favors or the questionable use of public funds which seems to define much of government these days. We need significant campaign finance reform on a national scale and we can start by over turning Citizens United.

  130. The federal government needs to strongly step into the Port Authority and clean it out. The public is paying for its gross mismanagement and incestuous hiring practices. Christie should be held accountable and if found guilty, should be impeached and I would say given all that is coming out that its a good possibility. He is the biggest bandit in the lot, physically and ethically. All of his appointees should be fired or sent to jail.

  131. Christie and his cohorts and accomplices are monsters, completely insatiable. New Jersey and New York people are badly served by them.

  132. This story is in a category all by itself in relation to what I guess I would call criminal cynicism. I can only hope the NJ Assembly -- and other investigative agencies -- get their moxie on and go after these clowns with everything in their arsenal.

  133. When is the control of the Port Authority going to be taken away from its defacto czar christie? This is supposed to be a public agency, not a treasure trough for it and its benefactor/allies.

  134. This is why some of us out west call him, "The Crisco Kid".

  135. It's interesting that the temporary home of the Christi iteration of the Port Authority (many of whose installation have been triply paid for and not turned over to the people but still are used to suck tolls to feed a bureaucracy and build non-transportation projects) is new Tammany Hall. Perhaps Chris Christi is a new Boss Tweed. They share the same silhouette.

  136. And you remember what became of Tweed. If only ....

  137. Great piece. Even though it's in a "liberal media" publication we all know it's true. If it isn't true there will be outrage and a defamation suit bigger than… well... bigger than Chris Christie. I don't see any comments below from the right. The old "innocent until proven guilty" line is the only thing they've been using so far and that is fair but the shenanigans presented in this article expose him on another level. If the GOP/Tea Party want's to be taken seriously they'd better rethink having Christie in the mix for the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

  138. Being from LA you might not be aware that the Port Authority is run jointly by NY and NJ and has been a political cesspool for almost 100 years now. This article wants it to be about Christie because they have found nothing to reflect on him regarding the bridge closing but you could of written the same article about Gov. Cuomo both pere and fils or Pataki or Corzine or Rockefeller or Keen or, well you get the idea. This is the corruption of government unchained.

  139. Whatever our individual personal political views -- Democrat, Republican, disgusted-and-indifferent -- I think these Times' articles make it clear to us all that the Port Authority must be utterly and completely reformed! What an utterly rotten perversion of an agency created to serve the people and the needs of the NY-NJ region.

    One can only hope that readers, and others, are motivated by these articles to demand complete reform and accountability.

    Thanks for the terrific, in-depth, investigative reporting, Times! Please keep shining the light into all the crevasses of corruption at the PA, and elsewhere, and don't let this story of major corruption fade away...

  140. ACW,

    If you think LBJ's story is limited to selfless efforts for the public good, and that he was less than a master manipulator to benefit his own career, you need to do some reading. Robert Caro's multi-volume biography should do the trick. And as an aside, who would you rather have stand up to Putin - Pres. Obama or a Pres. Christie? Don't bother to answer. I think I can guess.

  141. All I want is for this story to occupy front-page center until Christie's presidential polls go into negative numbers.

  142. Tess Harding,

    And when that continues to happen the public will start to sympathize with Christie as the victim of a vendetta. The problem with principles is that they cut two ways. If you're outraged at the actions portrayed in the story you must also be outraged at the same or worse actions taken by high-level Democratic politicians over the years. I don't think many people are naïve enough to believe that politicians like LBJ or countless Democratic governors over the years haven't used the powers of office to enhance their own political prospects.

  143. Tom Silver of NJ says:
    ' don't think many people are naïve enough to believe that politicians like LBJ or countless Democratic governors over the years haven't used the powers of office to enhance their own political prospects.'

    Tom, LBJ twisted arms, yes. To get the Civil Rights Act and Medicare passed. He bullied his fellow politicians for the good of his constituents. The machinations of Chris Christie's administration bullied his constituents -- the ones he was elected to serve -- to benefit Chris Christie at their expense. As one who marched against the Vietnam war in the late 1960s, I never thought at the time I'd ever write this, but in retrospect LBJ was one ofthe greatest presidents, and comparing Christie to LBJ only shows how far short of presidential material Christie is.

  144. I'll try again to reply to Tom Silver of NJ, because I think the point is worth making.

    LBJ played hardball politics with his fellow legislators in order to benefit constituents; he twisted arms to pass the Civil Rights Act and Medicare. Christie's administration did the exact opposite - they acted solely for the benefit of Christie and themselves, and punished elected officials for insufficient worship of him, by taking it out on the people of NJ whom he was elected to serve. Christie and LBJ are not comparable.

  145. How can people in Trenton outsmart a fellow in Albany who's from NYC? I guess the governor didn't live long enough in his hometown to hone a toolkit in the most competitive city in the country.

  146. Whenever I go over the George Washington Bridge, I am amazed at how awful it looks: rust everywhere, not a new coat of paint in sight. The pavement is bad, whether on the bridge or on the ramps. The pedestrian walkways are shameful-looking too. The tolls certainly don't seem to go towards maintenance of this bridge. Where do they go?

  147. Another example as to why people no longer trust any politician. It seems its a gravy train that is easy to climb on.. Once you are in power you began the payoffs and also get the crumbs as they fall and soon you are also rich. Its always those "insiders" that are causing the problem and you will protect from them. Problem is its always the "Insiders" who run on this idea and they have spent their adult life on the publics money.

    However, the bottom line is the people elect them.

  148. Well, at least now we know what Rachel Maddow will be leading the show with tonight.

  149. And your problem with that would be? Thank goodness she covered this story in the beginning when others didn't. She is an amazing reporter with much integrity.

  150. Yes, and I will be tuned in.

  151. Can't wait to see it. Hope you're watching too!

  152. So for all his bombast about being a straight-shooter, Christie turns out to be a big phony. Surprise, surprise.

  153. Christie's creativeness in repurposing the public trust is unmatched. He turned the federal prosecutor's office into a patronage mill by creating court "monitoring positions" paying millions to his loyal supporters. He used astronomic toll hikes and diversions from vital infrastructure projects like the ARC tunnel to veto tax increases. This latest revelation on the repurposing of the mangled remains of the 9/11 tragedy is beyond the pale and casts Christie's ambition and abuse of the public trust in a dark new light.

  154. Chris Christie has never struck me a possible presidential material. Not because I thought he was a crook before this. but because he's a bit of a slob, and had very little to recommend him for such a high office. Since my son once lived in Saddle River I know what a mess that area is on a good day...to think that all those "everyday" working folks were virtually tortured to "get even" makes me a bit ill.

  155. Thanks to The Times for showing us that Christie is nothing but a small-town politician unfit to be President. This is a person who rails about budgetary matters and overspending (just another hypocritical Republican), and yet his machinations with the Port Authority and other agencies likely cost taxpayers millions of unnecessary dollars. You also have to wonder why state officials have so much time to play these games and whether their positions are even needed.

    The best part of this story is Christie's manipulation of the Port Authority toll hike. Now, you have to ask yourself what role Cuomo (another Presidential aspirant we could do without) played in this deception.

  156. What would be news is if the Times reported that the Port Authority was no longer a dumping ground for political hacks and cronies. We've seen outrageous inflated salaries and perks given to these folks as well. To just assign this to Christie is a little unfair even though I am no fan of him and his bullying persona. I am not sure what the answer is here but it seems one of the goals in this agency is to see how many friends of the Governor they can squeeze in as these hacks travel from the public trough to the private sector.

  157. I can only imagine the depths of depravity, cynicism and casual cruelty to which the Presidency will sink if Chris Christie is ever elected to it.

  158. The 2010 Hudson River rail tunnel cancellation struck a nerve with me but now looking back it is a footnote. Arguably the most palatable, mainstream Republican business model in place in a major global destination is Christie and this is what you get.

  159. The Port Authority has more money than all of Switzerland put together. No one has the PA under their control. They do what they want - when they want. Why else would the PA get away with raising the tolls every year and not publishing their financial sheet!

    Christie is a viable candidate for the presidency and the democrats are doing everything via the media to discredit him!

    No one even remembers those lanes being closed!!!

  160. "No one even remembers those lanes being closed!!!'
    Spit take.

  161. Not me PMAC. I intend to support Chris Christie in his bid for the White House. I will send him a campaign contribution, let's see what under the couch and in the car, maybe about $8.50 or $8.75, and tell him to Stay The Course!

    Are you kidding me, or what? You don't think this Democrat would want anyone else than Chris Christie as the GOP POTUS candidate? If Christie was the GOP POTUS candidate, I might even give Chris a kiss, or something! Christie as the GOP candidate for POTUS would be a gift to Democrats that would never stop giving!

  162. I too just got coffee all over my monitor.

    Everybody reading this remembers the lanes being closed, mostly because this scandal broke big time a couple of months ago and nearly everyone can recall things from so recently.

    The Port Authority is certainly corrupt, and always has been. But Gov. Christie is proving to be corrupt too, and a bully, so he's not a viable candidate for the presidency. Even George W. Bush, worst president ever, was not corrupt, just easily controlled.

  163. This report reminds us of the disgusting, grimy underside of politics. It reveals that Chris Christie epitomizes the worst about elected officials: power mongering, avarice, coercion, influence peddling, deception, conspiring to deceive, disinformation, fraud, discriminatory employment practices, intimidation, retribution, callous disregard for any effects on the citizens. The photo of Christie, Samson and Baroni is an apt metaphor.

    It reveals his cunning and skill at avoiding actions that are literally illegal. For that reason, it's quite likely the ongoing investigations will result in no action against Christie.

    But voters should not despair. Instead, they should never forget reports like this, and make sure that Christie is never elected to any office again.

  164. I swear Christie better not even whisper the word president after all of this. He's done. They're done. Anyone ever shook his hand is DONE

  165. Tammany Hall looks like amateur hour compared to the antics of Christie and Co.

  166. Politics as usual. PANYNJ has always been a political tool to be used. I find it ironic that they talked about the tunnel that Christie cancelled because of the ballooning cost that would have cost the state but the article only states Christie did not use the 1.8B available. Inferring that he would use it for some other devious plot. You have to love the liberal media.

  167. The Port Authority seems to be set up in a way that invites corruption in the way it is like a giant slush fund. Maybe the solution is for the two states to work together to create a set of criteria that must be met for projects to be approved. An oversight board should also be created composed of appointees from both states whose function is to approve projects and other proposed actions based on the criteria. So distributing twisted steel from the World Trade Center to the governor's favorite mayors would be the sort of thing such a board would raise an eyebrow to. The appointees should have mimimum qualifications and should be approved by their respective states' legislatures. All that would go a long way towards cleaning up an agency that is built for corruption.

  168. "Should have minimum qualifications and should be approved by their states' legislatures."....are you kidding? How does that differ from the current cast of sleaze-buckets?

  169. The heartbreaking thing about all this CORRUPTION is that these are billions of dollars that should go into SCHOOLS, caring for the poor, etc. There's corruption in every state, and at the federal level as well. You wonder where all the money's gone? Why there is no money for schools, teachers, housing for the homeless, etc. It's because these scoundrels channel it all into their pockets and sweetheart deals. They are stealing from US. Truly heartbreaking. What should be done to punish these guys? The mind teems with ideas...... Anyway, GO you prosecutors. Get them off the streets and out of our lives.

  170. Aside from ending Governor Christie's political career (and believe me, Christie is finished), the most painful punishment he has thus far received for BridgeGate was the scathingly revamped version of "Born to Run" by Jimmy Fallon and Christie's beloved hero Bruce Springsteen on the Jimmy Fallon Show. Go to YouTube and watch it: it's hilarious, brilliant, and must have been an absolute twisted dagger in Christie's chest.

  171. Patrick,

    Yes, Christie is finished just as Bill Clinton was finished after the Lewinsky affair was outed. Christie hasn't even begun to fight, or to use the oratorical skills which equal or beat those of Pres. Obama. Wait till primary season begins in earnest before counting Christie out.

  172. This has been the most enjoyable reading in a while.
    We all suspected Christie was a sleaze-bucket but now we know for sure. Just like his self-aggrandizing commercials for which NJ pays, he cares for no one
    but his own self interests.
    The bigger they are the harder they fall.

  173. I said this early on about this scandal, "It wasn't about moving the cones and being late to work. It is about stealing money." Stealing money and paying your friends. Apparently nobody really cares about these "fat cats" in our face, telling us how if you apply yourself, you can be successful. After all, what is an extra $200 a year to cross the bridge? It is only a baseball mitt, and a couple of tickets to the Yankees. It is only another wasted day of working for the benefit of the "fat cats."

  174. Tis' truly a wonderful world we live in. I would like to get a job at the Port Authority but no, I couldn't work for these self-indulgent fools. I wait for the day they all are hung out to dry from the GWB.

    NYT, MSNBC and the WSJ- Keep on digging. It makes me sick reading and hearing it, but it would be nice to get the truth out. For whatever it is worth...

  175. The crass politicization of one of our country's greatest tragedies is appalling, but Christie, of course, was only following the example of New York's former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, who tried to ride 9/11 all the way to the White House. Have these self-styled "public servants" no shame?

  176. No, they have no shame.

  177. "Have these self-styled 'public servants' no shame?" In every major scandal the question of "no shame" arises. In all the recent Wall Street scandals the same question is asked. In the Enron debacle ditto. The answer always is "No, they have no shame." Until somehow checks and balances are created and people are penalized in some concrete way this goes on. If these people have no ethical or moral standards, and if there is no fear of penalties, then what do we expect?

  178. There's no shame because there's no conscience or moral compass to begin with.

  179. I long for the day when the New York Times runs a front page story with the headline, "GUILTY!" and photos of the characters who broke the law and shut down the lanes are on display. That'll really whet my appetite for the day when the biggest fish of them all is convicted.

  180. If what is stated about the toll hikes farce/sham plan and the canceled railroad tunnel is accurrate. Christie , Samson, Wildstein , Baroni , Guadagno etc.. are the real life Soprano's and should face RICO indictment .
    Their criminal act is impacting every working person who needs to commute every day . This article should be massed produced and given out at the train stations and bridge crossings.
    Christie is a bad character a bully and a sham. shame on anyone who supports him in future.

  181. The Port Authority has been a political sewer since it was founded. I suspect that its sole purpose was to provide cover for political shenanigans. It certainly has not provided benefits in line with it's costs. It is past time to dismantle the thing and consign it to another example of political corruption in the most politically corrupt part of the country.

  182. It is fortunate indeed that this vulture was discoverd as the corruptor he is before becoming a major political player. His truculance fits the revelations made, he was a rude player that thought he was invincible. So long Chris, can't say we'll miss you.

  183. Where was Andrew Cuomo when Christie was turning the port authority into his personal political piggy bank? And why isn't the NYT holding Cuomo's feet to the fire? Andy seems strangely detached from the whole thing.

  184. It is now clear that CC has been behind all of this. especially in that deplorable attempt to have phony Barori go after the 90 year old now deceased Senator Frank Laudenberg in Congressional hearing in DC. The deceased senator had founded a NJ technology company that today provides thousands of jobs to NJ citizens and thereafter served as a public servant for so long. During that time frame Laudenberg was the driving force behind the ARC tunnel and because CC did not want it built, he had Baroni attact the senator by bringing alone a manila folder with a threat to say that the Senator had used his free EasyPass 275 times.

    Shame on you CC This is just another example of your callous evilness to get your way.

  185. Yes, attacks on those who question or complain--the wilder the attack, the better--are part of Christie's playbook. He's done it a lot. Works, too--until it doesn't anymore.

  186. Imagine using government agencies and funds for political purposes!

    I can't recall another episode of such glaring abuse.

    Except when Barack Obama recently appointed clueless political donors to be the ambassadors to Norway, Hungary, and Argentina. And when he sent billions of government dollars to political donors at the now-bankrupt Solyndra.

    Then there was the Alaskan "bridge to nowhere," which ultimately was not funded, but not until that state's senator spent years trying.

    Senator Robert Byrd of W Virginia was famous for sending government money to his state when he chaired US Senate committees.

    Bill Clinton seemed delighted to have political donors spend the night at the White House with him. Presumably, they were able to influence him more directly than the average citizen.

    If Christie is ineligible for the presidency because his team used the Port Authority for state funds and political awards, does that mean the politicians above were or are corrupt and unsuited for office as well?

  187. Whatever. Still won't save Christie's skin.

    Saving Christie's skin is Job 1 in the NJ Governor's agenda. Anything else is a waste of time, according to the Gov.

  188. I guess you forgot to mention NC Gov Pat McCrory. Wasn't he in bed with Duke Energy while 27 million gallons of coal ash was leaking into the Dan River?

  189. I can just picture a younger, naughtier version of you on the playground, shouting "the other guy did it to!" How well did that work for you?

  190. Not sure if the Times has done this yet, but an Op-Ed asking for Christie's resignation is now overdue.

  191. Mr. Christie should resign.

  192. Absolutely. Christie's governance style indicates a conspiratorial manner and if he does not resign soon I think a movement to recall is the logical next step for NJ citizens. And of course any run for the GOP nomination for the candidacy for president has already been decided by Mr. Christie's conduct as Governor.

  193. Resign as Governor of NJ!? This bloated joker is still travelling the country in his role as head of the RGA!! Wouldn't one think that the powers that be at the RGA would tell him to disappear by now?

  194. Jere Sanborn Devon PA wrote in comment:

    "And just where is the governor of New York through all of this? The Port Authority is a joint covenant between the two states, but it appears that Andrew Cuomo just sits on his hands and allows New Jersey to run wild."

    If you read the article more closely:

    "The possibility of a similar ploy — announce an outrageously high increase, and then knock it down — had been considered before toll increases were proposed in November 2007, in a meeting between Port Authority officials and the administration of Gov. Jon S. Corzine, according to two people involved in the discussions, but it was dismissed as too contrived.

    Not this time. The plan was announced three days after the meeting in Trenton, on Aug. 6, a Friday afternoon. Within two hours, Mr. Christie and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York produced a joint statement expressing “obvious and significant concerns.” Mr. Christie described his first reaction as, 'Are you kidding me?'"

    Sounds like left foot and right foot to me. Within two hours, Governor Christie and Governor Cuomo produced a joint statement . . . .

  195. This article kind of ignores that the PA is run jointly by NY and NJ and the many sins contained in that agency falls equally on both states.

  196. "Republican donor, who was given a job as a financial analyst, and the co-author of Mr. Baroni’s self-help book, “Fat Kid Got Fit: And So Can You!” — who received a part-time job as publications editor that paid more than $50,000 per year." Wonder if the fifty grand included paid vacation, health care and retirement packages?

  197. Public jobs all include "cushy" benefits no one else gets. Retirement packages the equivalent of million dollar annuities... Try to save that kind of money working in the private sector without a company sponsored 401K or retirement program.

  198. Steve, not *all* public jobs include 'cushy benefits'.

  199. The Bayonne Bridge actually does connect NY and NJ. Staten Island was still a part of New York the last time I checked. The way this article was written would indicate otherwise. Also, the Pulaski Skyway is a critical route into and out of the Holland Tunnel, which connects NY and NJ. I would not fault Governor Christie for pursuing these projects, whatever else he may have used the Port Authority for.

  200. Actually, the reference was in singular form and immediately followed the Pulaski Skyway, so it was grammatically correct and did not refer to the Bayonne Bridge.

  201. Yes, the sentence is grammatically correct, but the entire paragraph is about how if New York got something, New Jersey had to get something too. The Bayonne Bridge connects both states, and (the article fails to mention) the raising of the bridge allows for increased ship traffic to the port of Elizabeth, which ultimately benefits both New York and New Jersey by keeping the regional port competitive. By including it in that particular paragraph, the author is trying to make it seem like the Bayonne Bridge is only in New Jersey, which it is not.