Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Is Kris Krispy, the Big Rat Bastard Gummer of NJ, feeling the flames of doom licking at his smelly feet?


by Ken

This is a big day: the second anniversary of Bridgegate, that magical day in 2013 when, it's alleged, intimate aides of Kris Kristie, the Big Rat Bastard Gummer of NJ, unleashed a massive traffic snarl on the approach to the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, NJ, to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for having the temerity to decline to endorse the Big Rat Bastard Gummer for reelection.

Now, at least judging by his public appearances, the Krispyman isn't in close contact with reality. Researchers are still looking for a documented instance when he has told the truth in public about anything. Still, you have to figure that even he has noticed that as of yesterday both of his fellow conspirators in the Plan for a More Rewarding Future for United Airlines and New Jersey (which is to say the people who control New Jersey) have lost their jobs, with United Airlines Chairman and CEO Jeff Smisek having to step down because of his role in a federal investigation of his curious dealings with the Krispy NJ Krime Family.

Here's the start of a report by the Washington Post's Drew Harwell and Katie Zezima, "United Airlines chief steps down amid federal investigation":
United Airlines chairman and chief executive Jeff Smisek and two other senior officials have resigned amid a federal corruption probe, the company said Tuesday, a major shake-up at the top of one of America’s largest airlines.

The resignations were linked to an investigation exploring whether the air carrier launched a money-losing flight from Newark to Columbia, S.C., to benefit the influential then-chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who owned a vacation home near Columbia.

The route, which became known as the “chairman’s flight,” became a bargaining chip in the thorny relationship between the then-struggling airline and Newark Liberty International Airport, one of its key profit centers.

In 2011, United was pushing for massive improvements to the airport, where it is the largest carrier, when David Samson became chairman of the Port Authority, which operates all New York-area airports.

After Smisek and Samson had dinner in Manhattan, the Chi­cago-based airline launched the low-traffic Newark-Columbia route. The direct flight, which left Newark on Thursday and returned Monday, was canceled days after Samson resigned from his post last year.

A longtime ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Samson resigned in the wake of Bridgegate, a 2013 scandal in which Christie staffers and appointees appeared to collude to create traffic jams, allegedly to hurt the mayor of Fort Lee, who had not endorsed Christie in that year’s gubernatorial campaign.

The issue engulfed Christie’s administration at the time and sorely damaged his presidential prospects. The federal probe, launched by the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, initially centered on the Fort Lee lane closures, but it has expanded into other behavior by the Port Authority, including its dealings with United.

United Continental Holdings, which owns the airline, said in a February filing that a federal grand jury had subpoenaed the company and its executives during a probe into whether the airline had attempted to sway public officials.

The company said Tuesday that it is cooperating with that ongoing investigation and is conducting its own investigation. The U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey declined to comment Tuesday. . . .
And the story goes on.


Notice that nothing about what's being reported now is really new, except for the resignations of United Chairman Smisek and of Nene Foxhall, executive vice president for communications and government affairs, and Mark R. Anderson, senior vice president for corporate and government affairs. The now-famous dinner was reported in February; there just wasn't much attention paid because the Krispyman was still blustering his way through.

•a None of the current reporting gives us any clue as to why these resignations have occurred now, mostly because U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman -- altogether appropriately -- isn't talking. In fact, beyond sort of acknowledging that there was an investigation ongoing, Fishman has scrupulously refused to talk at all, which is one way that NJ Fats was able to bluster his way through. It's easy for a man who has scruples to be taken advantage of by one who has none.

The obvious exception came May 1, when Fishman announced Bridgegate-related indictments of of former Krispy administration Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly and Krispykonfidant Bill Baroni, the Krispykrony who was the Krispyman's No. 2 plant at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as the acceptance of a guilty plea from longtime Krispy loyalist and enforcer David Wildstein, another PANYNJ plant. Again, Fishman didn't add much to the indictments (and guilty plea), freeing NJ Fats to do what he does best: lie his stinking guts out. He insisted, you may recall, that Baroni, Kelly, and Wildstein -- all people it seems almost certain were extremely close to him -- were in fact nothing to him except hired hands who had betrayed him. It was like he'd hijacked a whole fleet of buses to make sure he had enough to be sure of being able to throw them under.


Which brings us back to those Krispy plants at the PANYNJ, and the leader of that pack, David Samson. All along there has been talk about whether Samson would be indicted over Bridgegate, and the Krispyman must have been enormously relieved when he wasn't. Because it's not going to be so easy for NJ Fats to throw Samson under the bus.

Here are the Washington Post's Drew Harwell and Katie Zezima again:
Samson is one of New Jersey’s most powerful political players, having worked for both Democrats and Republicans, and the law firm he founded, Wolff and Samson PC, is one of the most influential in the state.

Samson, a former New Jersey attorney general, has long been a confidant of Christie, chairing the governor’s 2009 transition team.
By all accounts, the ties between the Krispyman and Samson are really close, dating back to the days when the Krispyman was the NJ U.S. attorney and Samson was NJ's attorney general. Veteran observers describe Samson as having been a political father figure to the Krispyman.

In June 2014, when NJ Fats was braying to potential presidential campaign donors, "It's over, it's done, and I'm moving on," Esquire's Scott Raab and Lisa Brennan begged to differ. "Back on planet Reality, meanwhile," they wrote in a blogpost called "Prosecutor Is Closing In on Gov. Christie":
Paul Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, wades through the sewage of Christie's stewardship. Two sources with intimate knowledge of the case say Fishman's pace is quickening -- he has empaneled a second grand jury, and the U.S. Justice Department has sent assistant prosecutors and FBI agents to work the case.
As we know, even the first stage of the "closing in" would take almost another year. Already in 2014, one of the Esquire reporters' sources told them: "What's taking the most time is separating what's viable from all the bad stuff they're finding that may not be viable."

Not bad stuff that didn't happen, mind you, just bad stuff that the prosecutors couldn't prove in court. The reporters wrote:
Fishman's challenge is to nail down specific criminal charges on several fronts -- the diversion of Port Authority money to fund New Jersey road and bridge projects; the four-day rush-hour closures of George Washington Bridge lanes in Ft. Lee; and a web of real-estate deals spun by David Samson, long a Christie crony, when he chaired the PA's Board of Commissioners as Christie's appointee. (One such deal, a stalled office-tower development in Hoboken, New Jersey, is central to a claim that Christie's lieutenant governor told the town's mayor that the state would withhold Hurricane Sandy relief aid from Hoboken if the mayor didn't sign off on the development project.)
We might call these the Oldies but Goodies of allegations against the Krispy Krime Family.


"The question that truly matters," the Esquire team wrote, "is whether Fishman's pursuit leads to the governor himself." The general assumption was that Fishman hoped the people whose indictment then seemed all but certain would turn talkative, but apparently only David Wildstein was eager to gab.
Fishman has cut no deals with anyone so far, and the looming indictments have encouraged Christie's PA appointees to sing. "Don't underestimate what Wildstein has on Christie," says one source. "And Wildstein and Baroni have both turned on Samson. If Samson doesn't give Fishman Christie, Samson is toast."
I guess we have to give Samson credit for hanging tough. Of course it may be that he knows only too well what he's dealing with in his "protégé," and dangerous he might be if Samson starts talking. Here's how the Esquire reporters saw the Samson situation in June 2014:
Federal charges in the bridge closures potentially include both intentional interference in interstate commerce and -- in the cover-up that ensued -- obstruction of justice. The use of Port Authority money, raised by issuing bonds, to pay for non-PA projects will likely result in charges of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit same; the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating on this front, along with the Manhattan District Attorney, who's seeking evidence to support state charges of falsifying business records and official misconduct. Charges derived from David Samson's numerous conflicts of interest while serving as a PA official could, in Hoboken's case, include federal charges of extortion under the Hobbs Act, and New York state charges of official misconduct and corruption.

The clearest, quickest road to Christie, both sources agree, runs through David Samson, a former Attorney General of New Jersey who's 74 years old and reportedly suffers from Parkinson's disease. So: Will Samson flip?

"They've got him cold," says one source. "He got sloppy, arrogant, and greedy. Samson will want a deal. This way, he'd get one or two years. He'd have a future on the other side. He won't want to die in jail."
I'm guessing that, for all that Wildstein, for one, was sure he could serve his former boss up on a platter, NJ Fats was crafty enough -- as any good mob boss should be -- to maintain personal deniability. It remains to be seen whether David Samson is (a) willing and (b) able to ring down the curtain on a reign of governmental misconduct that stands out even by New Jersey standards. I don't think we have to worry anymore about the Krispyman making it to the White House, unless perhaps by invitation of President Trump. But I'd really like to see the Rat Bastard get what he has coming to him.

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