News From Friday Night's Port Authority FOIA Dump
Credit: Flickr
January 25, 2014

Blue Jersey, which has been covering Christie abuses for a long time, has the latest:

Port Authority's response to many of these requests is, essentially, No. Many replies are non-responsive, or incomplete. Some others, instead of simply making the requested information available in the response, direct the applicant to where that info may have been provided to the legislature's investigation, like this reply to The Record.

(2) Emails between Christie political operatives inside PA (David Wildstein, Bill Baroni, Commissioner William Schuber, David Samson) and Christie's key players outside in the Office of the Governor (including Michael Drewniak, Bridget Kelly, Michele Brown, Maria Comell) plus Christie operatives in NJGOP (like Bill Stepian) are desired by many news organizations all sniffing down the same trail.

(3) Many requests are denied, "exempt from disclosure pursuant to exemption (5) of the Code" (read the PA's FOIA Code here). But the Code is unsigned, and it's unclear whether the PA is citing law, or merely its policy, which may be challengeable in court (we're looking into this).

(4) Internal memos would seem to illustrate a concern - which reads as defensive posture- in discussions of traffic videos, and whether they would have to be turned over to Fort Lee Police.

Some requests stand out:

American Bridge FOIA request (a pro-Democrat SuperPAC): Appears to be the most detailed. Interestingly, the request is for personal email communication of David Wildstein, PA Commissioner William Schuber, and "Bill Samson" (appears to be an error, meaning PA Chair David Samson). Specific people to whom emails may have gone to, or been received by, are listed and include Gov. Chris Christie himself, Michele Brown, Drewniak, Bridget Kelly, Maria Comella and other key players in Christie's political inner circle. The personal emails of Wildstein, Schuber and Samson, and also Drewniak, Kelly, and Bill Stepian are printed in the request.

American Bridge did their homework: The request includes detailed justification for the demand of personal email records, citing dated New York Times references to communication between key players by personal email. American Bridge argues that Samson, Schuber and Wildstein may have to provide those emails, but as current or former govt. employees they are obligated to provide it to the PA, or the PA has the right to obtain it from their service provider.

Port Authority's responds they don't have any personal email correspondence from those individuals.

American Bridge addl. FOIA request: Also seeking video traffic counting data also given to Fort Lee Police.

This 18-page request includes a copy of email from GWB Chief Durando to several PA employees saying he doesn't know why the Police want the video, and significant pushback from inside the PA not to provide the video, and memos wondering if the video would be discoverable under FOIA.

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