Documents Back 2nd Mayor's Claim He Was Punished by Christie

Image: Documents Back 2nd Mayor's Claim He Was Punished by Christie

Monday, 13 Jan 2014 02:28 PM

By Lisa Barron

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New emails and text messages back up Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop's claim that members of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration canceled meetings last summer after the mayor did not endorse the governor's re-election bid.

The documents show that aides set up seven different meetings between state officials and Fulop after he took office on July 1, but that the administration abruptly canceled all of them, reports the Jersey Journal, which filed a public records request last week.

The Democratic mayor had been due to meet with state Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff along with top officials from the Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, Department of Transportation, Department of Community Affairs, and the Economic Development Authority, according to the newspaper.

But on July 18, Fulop's scheduler, Nancy Warlikowski, reportedly emailed him to say that five of the meetings were canceled "within the last hour," adding: "They quoted scheduling conflicts and offered no alternative dates."

The two remaining meetings, including one with Bill Baroni, the Port Authority's deputy executive director who has since resigned over the Bridge-gate scandal, were canceled on July 19 and 22, the emails show.

In August, Fulop apparently raised the possibility that the cancellations could be the result of his decision not to endorse Christie, sending an email to Baroni that read, "I am not sure if it is a coincidence that your office canceled a meeting several weeks back that seemed to be simultaneous to other political conversations elsewhere that were happening."

"Prior to that you were always very responsive and I sincerely hope the two issues are not related as it wouldn't be in the PA, Jersey City or the residents of the state's best interest," he added.

Baroni reportedly never responded to the email or the mayor's requests to reschedule their meeting.

Fulop's decision not to endorse Christie was communicated to the governor's administration on or before July 18, reports The Wall Street Journal.

"Mayor Fulop believed the cancellations were connected to his decision not to endorse Governor Christie," his spokeswoman said.

Fulop said in a statement after the documents were released, "The emails that were requested speak for themselves. Our administration has sought to operate in a professional and cooperative manner with the Christie administration."

Christie maintained last week that discussions with Fulop have continued and projects with Jersey City are moving ahead, according to the Journal.

"We've continued to work with Jersey City over the course of time since he's been mayor," he said.

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