Christie Bridge Scandal

Christie Allies Joked About Causing 'Traffic Problems' for Rabbi

Two former allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the center of the scandal over lane closings at the George Washington Bridge also made jokes about causing “traffic problems” at the home of a local rabbi, according to text messages made public Thursday.

The messages were exchanged between David Wildstein, a former Christie appointee at the agency that runs the bridge, and Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff.

On Aug. 19, Wildstein sent Kelly a picture of the rabbi, identified by The Record newspaper as Mendy Carlebach, and said that the rabbi “has officially pissed me off.”

Kelly responded: “We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?”

Wildstein wrote back: “Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed.”

Carlebach, who has traveled with the governor, told the newspaper that he had “totally no idea” why he might have been the subject of the traffic joke. He told the paper that he had never spoken to Wildstein and had only a passing relationship with Kelly.

It was an email from Kelly to Wildstein six days earlier — “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” — that apparently set the lane closings in motion. Fort Lee was paralyzed by traffic for four days in September.

It remains unclear why they had the lanes closed. A state legislative committee is investigating whether it was an act of political retribution. Christie has said that he had no knowledge of any lane-closing plot.

Wildstein and Bill Baroni, another Christie appointee at the bridge agency, resigned in December as questions about the closings intensified. Christie fired Kelly in January after the “Time for some traffic problems” email became public.