A police officer who is a longtime friend of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was at the George Washington Bridge during lane closures that jammed traffic and sparked a scandal in the governor’s administration, MSNBC reported on Sunday.
Port Authority Police Lt. Thomas "Chip" Michaels — who grew up in Christie’s hometown of Livingston, N.J. — was monitoring snarled traffic when the lanes closed, MSNBC host Steve Kornacki said, citing documents submitted to a legislative committee by another Christie hometown friend, David Wildstein.
Wildstein is the former Port Authoritiy official who supervised the lane closings, purportedly in political retribution against Fort Lee's mayor.
According to the MSNBC report, Michaels drove Wildstein around as traffic was brought to a standstill. The documents also show that Michaels sent text messages to Wildstein updating him on the crippling impact the lane closures had on traffic in Fort Lee.
According to the report, Michaels had coached Christie's son in hockey in recent years.
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich had earlier questioned the Port Authority Police Department’s actions during the closures, the report said.
Thomas Michael’s brother, Jeffrey Michaels is also identified as a Republican lobbyist and ally of Christie.
Christie has fervently denied playing any role or having any knowledge of the decision to close the lanes that feed onto the bridge into New York City, one of the busiest bridges in the world.
And Christie's offce put out a statement on Monday saying, "the Governor has never had any conversations with either Jeff or Chip Michaels on this topic."
— Jeff Black
First published February 16 2014, 1:23 PM