Someone may finally have uncovered an explanation for this very “bridge & tunnel” scandal that could actually make sense.
The claim that Gov. Christie’s aides arranged a traffic jam to bully a recalcitrant small-time mayor always sounded too petty to be credible. The stunt would have been a dumb idea politically, but it may have been a brilliant piece of payback for a well-connected real estate developed in need of some help.
Reporter Steve Kornacki is claiming that the traffic jam may have been engineered to provide a boost to the developers of a nearby property who were struggling to obtain financing. From New York Magazine:
The project is question is the redevelopment of 16-acre piece of Fort Lee land located at the foot of the George Washington Bridge. Sokolich divided the space, which sat vacant for years, into two parts: The eastern portion is now occupied by two new residential towers that should be finished later this year. The western half is to serve as the site of Hudson Lights, a $218 million mix of residential, commercial, and parking space that, as Kornacki notes, used its proximity to the George Washington Bridge access lanes as a major selling point to potential investors and tenants. Groundbreaking on Hudson Lights was delayed this summer because of financing issues. However, the project’s developers announced that they had finally secured financing on September 16 — three days after New York Port Authority official Pat Foye put a stop to the access lane closures by questioning their legality in an e-mail to his New Jersey counterparts.
This line is a bit more interesting. It might explain why Christie appeared so clueless about the whole thing, and hint at the real reason he so promptly fired the aides involved when he finally took a close look.
Always follow the money.