Politics

N.J. Bridge Scandal: New Info Shows Officials Mocking Rabbi

Released texts between two officials implicated in the New Jersey bridge scandal show them joking about causing traffic problems for a rabbi.

N.J. Bridge Scandal: New Info Shows Officials Mocking Rabbi
The Star-Ledger
SMS

Documents released Thursday by the New Jersey State Legislature shed new light on the George Washington Bridge traffic jam scandal which has plagued the state's Governor Chris Christie.

The documents show previously-redacted text messages between key players in the so-called "Bridgegate" scandal. One exchange between former Port Authority executive David Wildstein and former Christie aide Bridget Kelly shows the pair joking about a rabbi who Wildstein apparently didn't like. (Via The Star-Ledger)

"'He has officially pissed me off.' Kelly replies 'Clearly. We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?' Wildstein responds, 'Flights to Tel Aviv, all mysteriously delayed.'" (Via CNN)

That exchange took place six days after Kelly sent a now-famous text to Wildstein reading, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Several weeks later, lane closings on the George Washington Bridge caused a major traffic jam.

Wildstein and Kelly were apparently talking about Rabbi Mendy Carlebach, the Port Authority police chaplain. When asked about the conversation, Carlebach told The Record, "I have totally no idea. ... I don't understand it. … None of it makes any sense." (Via The Record)

The head of the committee investigating the bridge scandal called the disclosure "disturbing," and said it displayed a cavalier and unprofessional attitude from both Kelly and Wildstein.

"Evidence of a kind of juvenile behavior about their official responsibilities and what they thought their capabilities were of causing traffic or delaying flights." (Via News 12 New Jersey)

But an analyst for MSNBC says the released messages probably won't add anything concrete to the investigation.

"To be fair, none of this really sheds a whole lot of light on the core issue here of the use of government power for political retribution."

And if you're looking for a reaction about these revelations, don't look to Gov. Christie. In a recent interview with WKXW, Christie made it quite clear he's done talking about the bridge scandal.

"We're going through an internal investigation. All of this stuff will come out over an appropriate period of time and I'm not going to give into the hysteria."

Another interesting tidbit from the documents: two weeks before Port Authority executive Bill Baroni testified about the lane closures, he texted "Are we being fired?" to Wildstein. Both men have since resigned.