The Republican governor was contrite in his first appearance since e-mails and text messages released Wednesday implicated a former top aide in the political controversy. His remarks during a late-morning press conference included claims that his administration has worked well with Jersey City, including a meeting held with earlier this week, despite rumors that Fulop has been punished for not endorsing Christie for re-election last year.
But Fulop issued a statement early Thursday afternoon that blasted the remarks.
“Governor Christie’s comments today on my relationship with the state are a gross misrepresentation of the facts,” Fulop said. “The reality is that the state requested the (Department of Environmental Protection) meeting held yesterday in Jersey City regarding his administration’s concern that the Hurricane Sandy Recovery/Blue Acres Program is struggling. We took the meeting his administration asked for as it is our responsibility as elected officials.”
Fulop added, “Nearly every single meeting we have requested with state commissioners with regard to proactive Jersey City issues has been unfortunately rejected over the last six months … Cancellations include an entire day of meetings with state commissioners scheduled to be in Jersey City that was abruptly canceled, with each of the commissioners individually canceling within an hour of the time I communicated my intention to not endorse.”
Report: Christie’s office involved in GWB lane closures
As Christie, Democrats react to GWB messages, ex-official attempts to quash order to testify
Christie’s bridge scandal: How it developed (interactive timeline)
The Democratic mayor’s statements are the latest twist in a scandal that has erupted this week over the Port Authority’s four-day closure in September of local lanes leading to the bridge in Fort Lee. The messages released Wednesday paint the move as political retaliation against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie last year, implicating a deputy chief of staff and two of Christie’s appointees at the Port Authority.
One of the messages said Sokolich’s name “comes right after Mayor Fulop” and raised new questions about whether Christie’s camp had retaliated.
During his news conference Thursday, Christie also announced he had fired Bridget Anne Kelly, the deputy chief staff implicated by the messages.
Stay informed: Subscribe to free NJBIZ newsletters