NYT page one article on internal investigation of Governor Christie’s Office reveals unprecedented access to official documents

Press Release

ACCESS RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT WHY OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR CONTINUES TO STONEWALL ON PRODUCING CONTROVERSIAL STATE DOSSIERS LISTING MAYORS, POLITICAL ALLIES AND ENEMIES BY TOWN

Secaucus, NJ, March 24, 2014:  Breaking news in the form of this morning’s Page One New York Times story on how the Office of the Governor’s internal investigation has found no evidence tying the Governor personally to the “Bridgegate” events. The article further makes it seem as if the report containing the internal investigation findings will be released soon.

The level of wide access on one hand contradicts the stonewalling leading to the lawsuit by Alexis Serringer (whom I represent) to force the production from Governor Christie’s office of certain “dossiers” on as much as — or more than — 100 mayors across New Jersey.  The lawsuit contends that such dossiers must be produced under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act.

“The optics of such disclosure are fine,” said New York investigative and corporate lawyer Eric Dixon, “but that’s the purpose of optics — to look good. As the famous Wendy’s ad went, ‘where’s the beef?‘ The reality is that the Office of the Governor, through its $650 an hour blended rate Park Avenue lawyers, is picking and choosing when to be open and when to hide government documents.”

“By extension, it really suggests they’re spending a lot of taxpayer money to pick and choose when to follow the law [OPRA] and when to ignore it.”

Here is the text of Dixon’s response in Serringer v. Office of the Governor, Docket MER-L-00563-14, communicated to the State Superior Court, Mercer County this morning.  Note the bold text which is distinguished for emphasis.

Your Honor:

I represent Plaintiff Alexis Serringer in this action under the Open Public Records Act.  This letter is submitted due to exigent circumstances, namely, revelations in a New York Times Page One article (attached) entitled, “Inquiry Is Said To Clear Christie, but That’s His Lawyers’ Verdict.”  The article details the “extensive review” and scope of access of the outside lawyers retained by and given unparalleled access to records and personnel of the Office of the Governor (Defendant in this OPRA action). The article cites lead lawyer Randy Mastro citing the “level of cooperation” and “volume of records reviewed” from Defendant. 

 These facts support the inferences that the Office of the Governor had unprecedented resources with which to respond to Plaintiff’s OPRA request for an unmistakably government record. Such ability to respond strongly indicates that The Office of the Governor was far from unable to respond. Rather, it indicates the Office of the Governor knowingly and willingly elected to neither produce dossiers made and kept by the Office nor to cite an exemption or justification under OPRA.  Accordingly, this lawsuit must be allowed to proceed and the previously submitted Order to Show Cause must be issued.                                                                                    

Sincerely

Eric Dixon

The dossiers, whose existence was first reported by the New York Times on January 29, 2014, were allegedly maintained by the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs within the Governor’s Office. The New York Times reported as follows:

“Staff members in the governor’s office created tabbed and color-coded dossiers on the mayors of each town — who their friends and enemies were, the policies and projects that were dear to them — that were bound in notebooks for the governor to review in his S.U.V. between events.”

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17 Comments

  1. patrick cullen

    Thank you, big time, HCTV for posting a link to today’s NY Times article, as well as Counselor Dixon’s response. Keep digging Mr. Dixon, NYT, and HCTV. I sense this story will be a major factir in whether our Governor is impeached or stays in office.

  2. Sentinel!

    Emilio should carry a sign that reads “Will Work For Food”. We hear that the powers to be are fed up with his bull. This guy promised Sacco everything but delivered nothing. The only thing this guy does well is pad his pockets after collecting fees from The Cuban Parade. His company EDV Marketing bills “The Parade Committee” for services rendered. The only problem is he controls both entities. We hear The IRS and The FBI are watching this very closely.

      1. patrick cullen

        Were you living here when our taxes skyrocketed in 2009, Martin? Do you know why they went up so drastically? Why are they still over 20% higher than pre 2009 levels?

          1. patrick cullen

            OVega hinted at it in a March 2009 NY Times article when he said:”the days of budgetary gimmicks are over.” Almost 2 years ago, Roque told me “Vega was dealt a hot handle.” Perhaps Roque would like to elaborate on that. You must also recal, Martin when there was also an eight million dollar hole in the 2008 budget, the first yearly budget that was Vega’s The reason for this, is that Slbio Sires, in order to make himself look good, politically, did not increase property taxes to the extent that he should have, to keep up with expenses. Also, he sold the $100 million dollar debt of the old WNYMUA to “3rd party lienholders” before the WNYMUA facilities were transferred to the NHSA.Anotherwords, rather than pay more than atoken payment to try and reduce that debt, he burdoned future mayors with it. Look at 2013 Series A&B Town of West New York general obligation bonds. Most of that is merely new borrowed money to pay for old borrowed money. These bonds also mention WNY being on the hook for the old MUA debt, and that the town can use its authority to tax property to insure the bond holders are paid in full. But geuss what, Martin? The 4,000+ properties with30 year tax abatements and the hundreds of units with smaller abatements are NOT on the hook for this. (As they were equally NOT subjected to the massive rise in taxes you and I and all the rest of the non exempt, non abated properties suffered in 2009. These long term tax abatements were the brainchild of property title search business owner turned Mayor Albio Sires. They continue to pay reduced municipal taxes and little county taxes and NO school taxes. I hope you eill vote for me in November School Board election for Trustee.

        1. Martin

          yea you have my vote..and to set the record straight I’m not voting for you because of your anti-roque stance but rather voting for you because of your knowledge and caring of the town..

  3. Gary

    We want uncle Festers picture re-posted. Emilio Del Valle is nothing but a political hack. Shame on you Emilio Del Valle you look like a special ed student in that picture.

  4. Slumlord

    Hi Mr. Tony. We want to know why Eric Dickson is not helping Jose Munoz? Did you pay him the balance you owe him for all of his hard work against Brian Stack and your friends from Union City? After all Wasn’t it Eric who helped your brain child UCCCG come to fruition?

  5. SeeMore!

    Dear HCTV Please do not remove the above you tube video, it is very important for the public to see Eric Dickson and Emilio Del Valle championing the rights of all those who must pay more because of abuse suffered under Gov. Christie and The Port Authority. Great reporting guys!

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