Updated Jan. 31, 2014

A Timeline of Governor Christie’s Unfolding Scandals

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, 51, is facing scrutiny over his staff’s involvement in the closing of traffic lanes to the George Washington Bridge, which connects the state with Manhattan. The September closings caused miles of backups in Fort Lee, New Jersey, a town of 37,500 just before the bridge. Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor didn’t endorse Republican Christie in his re-election bid. Christie has denied knowledge of his staff’s involvement, which threatens his possible presidential ambitions. The following is a timeline of events. Related Content >>

Aug. 2013
Sept.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Jan. 2014
Documents Due
The 20 subpoenas issued by the Assembly committee investigating the lane closures seek documents and materials by Feb. 3.
Bridge Closer Says Governor Knew
Wildstein says he has evidence that Christie knew “of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed,
contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” on January 9.
Wildstein
Christie
Review of Sandy Funds Distribution
Two Democratic congressmen from New Jersey call for U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to review the cancellation of the Christie administration’s $68 million contract with Hammerman & Gainer Inc., the New Orleans-based company hired in May to manage the distribution of Sandy housing recovery funds. The state ended the three-year contract in December. It didn’t disclose the termination until Jan. 23. The cancellation “comes amid months of delays in the distribution of Sandy rebuilding funds,” Representatives Frank Pallone and Bill Pascrell Jr. said in a statement. They asked Donovan to appoint an official to monitor New Jersey’s use of Sandy funds.
Pallone
Pascrell
Debris from the damaged Casino Pier is removed before rebuilding can start, February 19, 2013 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
NJ Voters Disapprove
Christie’s approval rating among New Jersey voters slides to its lowest point since May 2011, according to a survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind institute. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they approved of the Republican’s job performance, wiping out the bounce he received in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. His approval rating stood at 62 percent in an October poll by the same group.

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, whose town is at the center of the traffic-jam controversy, attended President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech in Washington as a guest of U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat whose district includes Fort Lee.
Sokolich applauds as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on January 28, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Joining Forces
The two state legislative committees investigating the bridge scandal merge into one. The Assembly and Senate approve measures formalizing the creation of the 12-member New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigations.
Christie Campaign Subpoenaed
Christie’s re-election campaign and the state Republican Committee received a U.S. subpoena seeking documents related to the lane closings, a lawyer said. The grand jury subpoena, issued Jan. 17, came in an investigation by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, according to lawyer Mark Sheridan, who represents the Christie for Governor campaign and the state GOP committee.
Christie speaks at his election night event after winning a second term on November 05, 2013. Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Fishman
Sheridan
Starting the Second Term
Christie and Guadagno sworn to second terms in Trenton.

A national poll by Quinnipiac University finds the traffic scandal taking a toll on Christie's 2016 presidential prospects. Christie trailed Democrat Hillary Clinton 46 percent to 38 percent in the survey. That compares with a Dec. 11 poll showing Christie at 42 percent and Clinton at 41 percent.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, right, are sworn in by Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court Stuart Rabner for second terms on January 21, 2014 in Trenton, New Jersey. Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Guadagno Denies Allegations
Guadagno calls Zimmer’s allegations “false” and “illogical.” Zimmer releases a statement saying she discussed the matter for two hours with representatives of U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. Fishman’s office says it doesn’t confirm or deny such meetings.
Guadagno
Zimmer
Fishman
Hoboken’s Sandy Relief Funds Endangered
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, a Democrat, says on MSNBC that Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno pressured her in May 2013 to back a proposed development favored by Christie. Guadagno told her that Hurricane Sandy disaster assistance was tied to Zimmer’s support, the mayor says. Hoboken, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, sustained heavy flooding in the Oct. 29, 2012, storm.
Zimmer
Guadagno
A man walks through flood waters in Hoboken, New Jersey on Oct. 30, 2012. Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg
Springsteen Mocks Christie
Late-night comedy host Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen, a Christie idol, parody Springsteen’s “Born To Run” in a duet. “You’re killing the working man, who’s stuck in Governor Chris Christie’s Fort Lee, New Jersey, traffic jam,” they sing.
Photo: Bruce Springsteen, left, and Jimmy Fallon, right, singing on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Tuesday, January 14, 2014. Lloyd Bishop/ NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Investigative Panel Formed
Weinberg calls for a joint legislative committee to review the bridge matter, and the Assembly announces the formation of an investigatory committee, overseen by Wisniewski. The panel’s special counsel will be Reid Schar, the former assistant U.S. attorney who was the lead investigator and prosecutor in the corruption trials of Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor, who was convicted and is serving a 14-year prison term.
Weinberg
Wisniewski
Schar
Special Session Scheduled
Assembly Speaker-elect Vincent Prieto, a Democrat from Secaucus, schedules a special session, for Jan. 16, to consider legislation to reauthorize subpoena power. Wisniewski says he’s considering issuing subpoenas to Kelly and Drewniak.
Prieto
Wisniewski
Kelly
Drewniak
Broader Involvement Revealed
The Assembly releases more than 2,000 pages of documents, mostly e-mails and text communications, responsive to the Dec. 12 subpoenas. The files show, for the first time, a broader scope of involvement by Christie aides and allies.
Wildstein Pleads the Fifth
Christie, at an almost two-hour press conference in Trenton, says he fired Kelly and cut Stepien from his political organization. He apologizes for his associates’ involvement. “I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution, and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here,” he says. He is “talking to the individual people who work for me” to learn any more information and to find out how the situation occurred. He says he’s “confident” that Samson “had no knowledge of this, based upon our conversations and his review of his information.” Later, the governor travels to Fort Lee for a meeting with the mayor. Wildstein, responding to a subpoena to testify before the Assembly Transportation Committee, invokes his constitutional Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
Christie enters the Borough Hall in Fort Lee to apologize to Mayor Mark Sokolich on January 9, 2014. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
E-mails, Text Messages Published
The Record, a Woodland Park-based daily newspaper, publishes e-mails and text messages showing involvement by Christie’s staff, Port Authority appointees and a political adviser. Other media outlets also obtain the documents. Christie meets with Samson for two hours. Samson releases a statement saying “neither I nor anyone on the board had any direct knowledge of these lane closures” until the Sept. 13 e-mail from Foye.
Christie
Samson
Wildstein Subpoenaed
Wisniewski subpoenas Wildstein to testify.
Wisniewski
Wildstein
Baroni Quits
Baroni resigns.
Baroni
Additional Subpoenas
Wisniewski issues seven more subpoenas. He seeks documents and communications from Foye; Baroni; Wildstein; Durando; as well as from Cedrick Fulton, the Port Authority’s director of tunnels, bridges and terminals; Paul Nunziato, president of the Port Authority’s police union; and Darcy Licorish, an authority police official.
Wisniewski
Foye
Baroni
Wildstein
Durando
Fulton
Nunziato
Licorish
Independent Investigation
The Port Authority’s independent Office of Inspector General starts an investigation.
Foye Testifies
Foye, responding to a subpoena to testify, appears before the Assembly transportation committee. The decision to restrict lanes, he says, was Wildstein’s, contrary to Port Authority procedure to coordinate such projects with local towns, media, state agencies and public-safety officials.
Foye
Wildstein Quits
Wildstein resigns effective Jan. 1. Drewniak issues a press statement calling Wildstein “a tireless advocate” and thanking him “for his service to the people of New Jersey and the region.”
Drewniak
Wildstein
‘Sound Advice’
Wildstein e-mails Drewniak, thanking him for “all your sound advice last night.” Drewniak thanks Wildstein for “a great dinner.”
Drewniak
Wildstein
Christie Jokes About ‘Working the Cones’
Christie, at a news conference in his Trenton office, announces his nomination of Chief of Staff Kevin O’Dowd to become attorney general, with duties including oversight of criminal investigations and prosecutions, the state police and homeland security. Kelly, who in April temporarily became a deputy chief of staff when Stepien left to join the Christie campaign, will remain in the role, he says. Addressing media reports about the Port Authority, Christie says it would be “incorrect” to call the agency “out of control.” Asked by a reporter whether he had anything to do with the traffic problems, he says: “I worked the cones, actually.” “Unbeknownst to everybody I was actually the guy out there. I was in overalls and a hat but I was actually the guy working the cones out there. You really are not serious with that question.” He adds: “Just because John Wisniewski is obsessed with this, and Loretta Weinberg, it just shows you they really have nothing to do if they’re obsessed with this. And by the way, the fact is I didn’t even know Fort Lee got three dedicated lanes until all this stuff happened, and I think we should review that entire policy because I don’t know why Fort Lee needs three dedicated lanes, to tell you the truth, and I never knew it.”
Christie
Foye Subpoenaed
Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat who is chairman of the Transportation Committee, subpoenas Foye to appear at a special hearing in Trenton. Drewniak responds to a Wildstein e-mail regarding questions from a Star-Ledger reporter: “F--k him and the S-L.” Steve Coleman, an authority spokesman, alerts staff to multiple questions from reporters and writes: “I’m not returning the calls unless told to do so.” New Jersey Senator Richard J. Codey, a Democrat, writes to Robert E. Van Etten, the Port Authority’s inspector general, and asks for an investigation. “It is disconcerting that the executive director of the Port Authority did not even know these closures were going to take place, which only adds more fuel to the fire that nefarious reasons were behind these closures,” Codey writes.
Wisniewski
Foye
Drewniak
Wildstein
Codey
Special Hearing
Baroni tells a special hearing of the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee that the closures were due to a traffic study.
Baroni
‘Another Ethical Breach’
The Wall Street Journal reports on Sokolich’s Sept. 12 letter to Baroni, and a reporter for The Star-Ledger of Newark solicits comment from Wildstein, who forwards the e-mail to Drewniak. “He is copying the WSJ story and making it his own – another ethical breach” by the reporter and his newspaper.
Sokolich
Baroni
Wildstein
Drewniak
‘Just Silly’
In e-mails, Drewniak and Wildstein discuss a Foye communication about a personnel matter. Wildstein says he is spending $50,000 on an attorney to represent him in the matter. “This is deeply f----d up,” Drewniak writes. “What a piece of excrement.” Later, Drewniak – who has a copy of a reporter’s e-mailed questions to Wildstein – writes to Wildstein: “For goodness’ sake, the governor of the state of New Jersey does not involve himself in traffic surveys.” Drewniak says it’s “just silly” for the reporter to ask whether the Christie has encouraged “a culture of fear.”
Drewniak
Wildstein
Wildstein takes an oath before the State Assembly in Trenton, New Jersey on Jan. 9, 2014. Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg
Internal Review
Foye tells reporters that the Port Authority is conducting an internal review.
Foye
‘Bad Guy’
Kelly, in an e-mail to Wildstein, refers to a media report on Foye’s displeasure: “Foye is a bad guy.”
Kelly
Wildstein
Five Weeks Before Election
Wildstein e-mails Stepien, apologizing for “causing you so much stress this close to November.” It is 33 days until voters will decide whether to re-elect Christie. Wildstein says “we need to address leaks from Foye, and his messing with us five weeks before election.”
Wildstein
Stepien
E-mails Exposed
The Wall Street Journal prints details of Foye’s Sept. 13 e-mail expressing his outrage to authority staff.
Foye
NJ Senate Majority Leader at ‘A Loss For Words’
Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat from Teaneck who is New Jersey Senate majority leader, sends a letter to Pat Schuber, a Port Authority commissioner from New Jersey, and copies Christie, Sokolich and Samson. “I am at a loss for words regarding the Port Authority’s sudden change in the traffic-flow pattern,” Weinberg writes. The jams were significant for Bergen County, she writes, and the change was “made with no public comment.”
Weinberg
Christie
Sokolich
Samson
‘Playing in Traffic’
Samson, in an e-mail to Scott Rechler, chief executive officer and chairman of RXR Realty LLC and vice-chairman of the Port Authority board of commissioners, says he believes Foye was responsible for media leaks. As in the past, Samson writes, Foye “distances himself from an issue in the press and rides in on a white horse to save the day.” This time, Foye is “playing in traffic” and “made a big mistake.” Wildstein e-mails Bill Stepien, a former Christie campaign manager, a news article on the jams, and Stepien replies: “The mayor is an idiot.“ Wildstein, referring to Sokolich, writes: “It will be a tough November for this little Serbian.”
Samson
Wildstein
Stepien
Foye on the 100th story of One World Trade Center on April 30, 2012 in New York City. Lucas Jackson-Pool/Getty Images
Rumors Circling
Sokolich texts to Baroni: “We should talk. Someone needs to tell me that the recent traffic debacle was not punitive in nature. The last four reporters that contacted me suggest that the people they are speaking with absolutely believe it to be punishment. Try as I may to dispel these rumors, I am having a tough time. A private face-to-face would be important to me. Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to the errors of my ways. Let me know if you’ll give me 10 minutes.” Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Christie, refers reporter inquiries about the matter to the Port Authority, “an independent agency.”
Sokolich
Baroni
Drewniak
Lanes Open
7:44 a.m.
Patrick Foye, appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as Port Authority executive director, says in an e-mail to colleagues that he learned of the closures only when he was contacted by a reporter. He calls the closures possibly a violation of state and federal laws, and “hasty and ill-advised.” Recipients include Baroni, Durando and David Samson, Christie’s appointee as Port Authority chairman. “I will get to the bottom of this abusive decision, which violates everything this agency stands for,” Foye writes. Durando, in an 8:04 a.m. e-mail to Foye, writes that the three toll lanes are restored.
Foye
Baroni
Durando
Samson
8:55 a.m.
Foye e-mails Baroni: ’Bill, we are going to fix this fiasco.” Baroni replies: ’There can be no public discourse.” Foye responds: ’Bill, that's precisely the problem: There has been no public discourse on this.”
Foye
Baroni
11:44 a.m.
Wildstein writes in an e-mail to Kelly, “The New York side gave Fort Lee back all three lanes this morning. We are appropriately going nuts. Samson helping us to retaliate.” That afternoon, Baroni approves a media statement saying the Port Authority has completed a weeklong traffic study, and the agency “will continue to work with our local law-enforcement partners.” Bill Pascrell, a Democratic U.S. congressman from Paterson, sends Baroni a letter asking for an explanation of the delays.
Wildstein
Kelly
Baroni
Request to Open the Bridge ‘Quietly’
The George Washington Bridge connecting Fort Lee, NJ, and New York City, on Jan. 9, 2014. Andrew Burton/Getty Images
On the fourth day, Sokolich, in a letter to Baroni marked “Personal,” complains about “complete gridlock.” He asks that the traffic decision “be reversed quietly, uneventfully and without political fanfare.” He adds: “Having received absolutely no notice of this decision, not having obtained any response to our multiple inquiries concerning same, and try as we may to understand its rationale without the benefit of a response from the Port Authority, we are reaching the conclusion that there are punitive overtones associated with this initiative.” Wildstein e-mails Kelly a statement: “The Port Authority is reviewing traffic-safety patterns at the George Washington Bridge to ensure proper placement of toll lanes.” the Port Authority’s police department “has been in contact with Fort Lee police throughout this transition.”
Sokolich
Baroni
Wildstein
Kelly
Day Three of Tie-Ups
Christie, left, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, at the 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies for the twelfth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan at the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2013 in New York City. David Handschuh-Pool/Getty Images
Children of Buono Voters
On the second day of closures, Sokolich texts Baroni: “Presently we have four very busy traffic lanes merging into only one toll booth. The bigger problem is getting kids to school. Help, please. It’s maddening.” In a text string among unidentified participants, one writes, “I feel badly about the kids” and another responds, “They are the children of Buono voters,” a reference to Barbara Buono, the Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Christie in the November gubernatorial race. Paul Favia, coordinator of Fort Lee emergency medical services, sends a letter to Sokolich outlining how the jams on Sept. 9 and 10 delayed aid to four people injured in a motor-vehicle accident, a 91-year-old woman who suffered cardiac arrest and later was pronounced dead at Englewood Hospital, and two people stricken with chest pain. Paul Crist, a deputy director of the Port Authority’s bridges and tunnels, e-mails to colleagues: “Why are we taking the traffic counts?”
Lane Closures Begin
Photo: Toll booths leading to George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee on Dec. 17, 2013. John Moore/Getty Images
Lane closures begin. Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich contacts the office of Bill Baroni, appointed by Christie as deputy executive director of the Port Authority, regarding an “urgent matter of public safety.” Baroni forwards to Wildstein, who forwards to Kelly. Kelly writes to Wildstein: “Did he call him back?” Wildstein, who watched the traffic build-up from Port Authority offices in Fort Lee, replies: “Radio silence.” E-mails among Port Authority staff recount calls from irate bridge patrons. “Fort Lee is not happy,” writes Robert Durando, general manager of the bridge.
Sokolich
Baroni
Wildstein
Kelly
Durando
Port Authority E-Mails
E-mails among Port Authority staff show proposals for lane closures, including one to “neck down to one lane” in Fort Lee.
Traffic Problems
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s then deputy chief of staff for legislative and intergovernmental affairs writes to David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the George Washington Bridge. Wildstein responds: “Got it.”
Kelly
Wildstein
Heavy traffic exits the George Washington Bridge on November 1, 2012 in New York as the city recovers from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

EDITORIAL: Elise Young

GRAPHIC: Chloe Whiteaker, photos compiled by Kenneth Hughes

PHOTOS:
Baroni: Bloomberg | Christie: Bloomberg | Codey: Bloomberg | Drewniak: Getty | Fishman: WireImage | Foye: Bloomberg | Guadagno: Getty | Kelly: Getty | Nunziato: Getty | Samson: Bloomberg | Schar: Getty | Sokolich: Bloomberg | Weinberg: AFP/Getty | Wildstein: Bloomberg | Wisniewski: Getty | Zimmer: Getty