Report ties Christie friend to executive in bridge probe

A police officer who is a family friend of Gov. Chris Christie provided updates on September's George Washington Bridge traffic mess and gave a tour of the gridlocked area to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive who allegedly ordered the lane closings, an MSNBC report says.

Correspondence with Lt. Thomas "Chip" Michaels, the brother of a powerful figure in New Jersey's GOP, was among documents provided to the Legislature in December, under subpoena, by David Wildstein, who was a port authority executive at the time of the closings.

The 44-year-old Michaels is a lieutenant in the port authority police.

He is identified in one text exchange with a supervisor, asking one day before the lane closures whether a new traffic pattern would be taking effect. Michaels also appears to text status reports on road conditions, noting at one point, "Local Ft. Lee traffic disaster."

The bridge's manager, Robert Durando, told the Legislature in December Wildstein toured the area with a police lieutenant.

In an e-mail sent on the first day of the lane closings, Wildstein says he was leaving to "take a ride with Chip."

Michaels was a youth hockey coach for the governor's son, Patrick. He grew up in Livingston, as did Christie and Wildstein. Though Michaels is seven years younger than the governor, their families have been friendly for years.

The officer's brother, 49-year-old Jeffrey Michaels, is a former chief of staff under Gov. Donald DiFrancesco. In 2010, Michaels teamed with Philip Norcross — a brother of Democratic power broker George Norcross III — to establish the lobbying firm Optimus Partners.


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