A new wrinkle has manifested in the saga concerning a scheme by top aides of New Jersey’s Governor Christie to slow traffic to a crawl as “payback” for the Fort Lee Democratic mayor Mark Sokolich’s refusal to endorse Christie, a Republican, in the state’s gubernatorial race in November of 2013. The traffic delays slowed the search for a missing 4-year-old.
Jan Goldberg, a Fort Lee councilman said today that “There was a missing child that day. The police had trouble conducting that search because they were tied up directing traffic.” Goldberg works with local first responders such as fire fighters and police. Goldberg said the police eventually found the four-year-old, adding “But with the streets in the condition they were, I would venture to say that the search took longer.”
Another Fort Lee councilwoman, Ila Kasofsky, told reporters that first responders could not get through the traffic jams at all. Kasofsky says borough residents have told her stories of being unable to pick up a child after dialysis, and a wife who was unable to make it across the bridge to be with her husband as he had heart surgery.
Police Chief Keith Bendul told reporters that there was a cardiac arrest that needed an ambulance, and a car that had run into the side of a building. Bendul said, “What would happen if there was a very serious accident?”
While apologizing for the actions of one of his top aides, Bridget Anne Kelly, who was fired January 9th, his former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and his appointees at the New Jersey Port Authority, Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, both of whom have resigned and retained legal counsel, Christie adamantly refused the notion that he had anything to do with the actions of his staffers. Christie went on to call the actions of those surrounding him “stupid” and “callous”.
Councilman Jan Goldberg said the information revealed by texts and e-mails turned over to authorities Wednesday was “outrageous,” adding, “It’s unimaginable that they could stoop to that level.”