Christie confidantes joked about causing traffic problems for rabbi


(JTA) — Two former confidants of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joked about causing traffic problems in front of a rabbi’s home two weeks before the political scandal being called “Bridgegate.”

Bridget Anne Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff for Christie, and David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to a key position at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, apparently were kidding in their messages of Aug. 19 about Rabbi Mendy Carlebach, a chaplain for the Port Authority Police Department.

The messages appear in unredacted documents released Thursday that Wildstein provided to the state Assembly’s Transportation Committee in December in the investigation of the apparently politically motivated scheme to shut down access lanes from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge for four days in September, creating major traffic problems in the town bordering the bridge.

“We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?” Kelly wrote to Wildstein in an apparent reference to Carlebach, of the Chabad of North and South Brunswick in central New Jersey.

“Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed,” Wildstein replied.

The two appeared to be kidding, according to The New York Times.

“He has officially pissed me off,” Wildstein also wrote of Carlebach.

Carlebach told The New York Times that he does not know what he did to anger Wildstein.

The message included a photo of Carlebach with House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) from the 2008 Republican National Convention, where the rabbi worked as an official chaplain. Christie and Boehner both reportedly have plans to run for president in 2016.

Carlebach, who traveled to Israel on an economic mission with Christie in 2012, said since he is a rabbi he does not endorse candidates, according to the Times.

Christie claims he was not aware of the plans to close the access lanes to the bridge, which connects Manhattan to New Jersey, two months before he won re-election as governor. Wildstein resigned his post and Kelly was fired in the aftermath of the scandal.

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