Christie Aides Wanted to Punish a Rabbi, Too

They joked about a traffic jam near his house
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2014 6:30 PM CST
Christie Aides Wanted to Punish a Rabbi, Too
David Wildstein, who was Christie's No. 2 man at the Port Authority, speaks during a hearing at the Statehouse in Trenton in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

A big batch of emails among current and former Chris Christie aides is out, and while no bombshells appear to be in the mix, one exchange in particular is getting a lot of attention. Weeks before bridgegate, Christie's then deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, joked with former Port Authority official David Wildstein about a local rabbi, Mendy Carlebach. It begins with Wildstein emailing a photo of Carlebach.

  • Wildstein: "And he has officially pissed me off." (It's not clear why.)
  • Kelly: "Clearly. We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?"
  • Wildstein: "Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed."
  • Kelly: "Perfect."

The Star-Ledger quotes state Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is leading an investigation into the Fort Lee traffic mess, as saying the emails show a "kind of a juvenile, cavalier attitude toward their official responsibilities and joking about the power they had to create traffic or delay flights.” The New York Times story includes a similar take: The emails "lend new context to the highly charged environment in which Mr. Christie’s aides operated, an atmosphere of political paybacks where the planned lane closings for Fort Lee could be joked about as a weapon to be wielded against people who irked or defied them." As for the rabbi, he's bewildered. "I have totally no idea," he tells the Bergen Record when asked what he did to tick off the aides. "None of it makes any sense." (More Chris Christie stories.)

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