Fort Lee Mayor: Christie Should Stay in Trenton Until Investigation Is Complete

Mark Sokolich said he believed 'there are still some untold chapters' in the story of lane closures at the George Washington Bridge.

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, second from right, addresses a news conference at Fort Lee, N.J., City Hall, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Sokolich called it "appalling" that the traffic jams appear to have been deliberately created. AP Photo/Richard Drew
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, second from right, addresses a news conference at Fort Lee, N.J., City Hall, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Sokolich called it "appalling" that the traffic jams appear to have been deliberately created. AP Photo/Richard Drew
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said Thursday that he'd prefer if Gov. Chris Christie did not visit the borough to apologize for George Washington Bridge lane closures until a full investigation of the incident is completed.

UPDATE: Sokolich accepted Christie's apology when the governor arrived in Fort Lee Thursday afternoon. Read more here.

Christie publicly apologized earlier in the day for lane closures in Fort Lee and said he would come to Bergen County to apologize to the mayor and residents in person.

"We're grateful to the governor for the offer, he certainly wouldn't be shunned, but...we would ask that this visit come once this investigation is either over or all of the material facts have surfaced," Sokolich said at his own press conference Thursday afternoon.

"It appears there are still some untold chapters here," Sokolich said.

Sokolich told reporters that state police had called to make arrangements for a helicopter to land at Fort Lee High School.

He suggested Christie would be better off "saving the gas" and not flying there Thursday.

Sokolich wouldn't say how much he believed the lane closures had affected emergency response times, but reports have surfaced that they were significantly slowed by traffic delays.

"We endure combat here every single day dealing with that bridge traffic," Sokolich said. "When there is an event and gridlock occurs, we deal with it."
Sacha Wilson January 09, 2014 at 02:20 PM
When will everyone out there wake up and take their heads out of the sand! I'm a Christy supporter, but all of these little abuses of power are no good! We act like its all okay, but its not. This had a negative effect on thousand of people he us to serve...SERVE! These a-holes work for us...keys not forget that. This is just a traffic jam, but would he joke, or another person in power joke about locking up an innocent man? Creating FEMA camps? Also follow the trail...was it him or someone wanting to ruin him...maybe because he is ripe for presidential election?
RepubBaby January 09, 2014 at 02:25 PM
Too bad there isn't this much interest in discovering why 4 Americans died in Bengazi over a year ago and the lack of a proper investigation. That the white house postponed it's daily briefing until our Governor's press conference was concluded should tell us all something about what's motivating the hysteria over this.
Adam January 09, 2014 at 02:41 PM
What the heck does Bengazi have to do with this, other than the Republican party trying desperately to creat a scandal, anything, that can hurt Hillary Clinton's chances in 2016. lack of a proper investigation? Are you not aware that the Rebublican House has multible investigations? Christie pulled NJ out of the consortion of eastern states (including those headed by Republican Governors who are not eyeing a presidential run in 2016) that had filed suit against mid-western states/coal plants to stop poinining our citizens and children, for the sole purpose of not pissing off Mid-western primary republican voters in 3 years. Perhaps now that his chances for highr office have been quashed, he can start working on the job that NJ voters approved him for. Christie ridiculed and abused reporters who questions him a month ago about the bridge scandal. Now he wants to make nice to Fort Lee and others who he called "idiots". How Presidential!
Andrew G. January 09, 2014 at 02:45 PM
BRIDGE! Let's talk about the NEW JERSEY MOB. Bosses are now called, mayor, councilmen, assemblymen. Money laundering is now call political donations. Corrupt syndicate are now simple called contractors. Here we are talking about a bridge closure... The feds need to clean house in this state. Corruption is really bad here! PLEASE HELP!!!
Concerned January 09, 2014 at 03:01 PM
And no one cares about what Obama does to our country EVERY DAY!!!! I do not think Christie was involved. He is not that irresponsible. This was done my an immature staffer. How about Obama --(he and Hilary skated thru Bengazi. they should have both been punished over that) never having to answer to anyone for his presidency. Obama needs to be impeached, and the staff of Christies need to be fired. There is corruption everywhere when people get paid for political positions. Our government should be voluntary. That is the only way to get people who really care. And while I am at it, get rid of our congress and senators also. Whoever was responsible for this bridge issue will be punished.
Allan January 09, 2014 at 03:02 PM
I think being a 91 year old woman may have died as a result of this stunt, it would be better if the Governor doesn't visit at this time. Forget the mayor, I think this woman's family deserves all the facts, whether this was one stupid vindictive thing or part of a larger pattern of malfeasance. Let the facts come out either way.
Clay Thomas January 09, 2014 at 03:03 PM
All along, I thought HBO was finished with the Sopranos series, but when Christie started talking about his inner circle as “family” and how he was “betrayed” by their “disloyalty”, I couldn’t believe my ears. This is great! It’s Sopranos all over again on CNN daytime TV and no HBO subscription fee.
Ernie January 09, 2014 at 03:04 PM
I lived in Fort Lee many years and the traffic from the bridge is never ending. I agree this may have been over the top as far as traffic goes but in my opinion just another day at the office. In reference to Christie, for a person who was a state prosocutor it is hard to believe he had no clue what was going on.
Andy Pat January 09, 2014 at 03:07 PM
Of course he is taking the chopper. Wouldn't want to get caught in traffic! Pompous A**!
Concerned January 09, 2014 at 03:33 PM
Democrats in the state house, Congress, nationally will never let this go. He took responsibility and has already fired two people. Who has Obama fired in the IRS, State Department or Department of Defense over Benghazi, Justice department for Fast and Furious, or eavesdropping on Reporters. NO ONE. This was stupid, vindictive and hurtful and the closure inexcusable, even if there was some sort of traffic study (that seems doubtful at the moment) The malicious comments and innuendo by the writers above have no place in civil discourse. Have your opinions but don't state them as fact until you know the facts. I wonder how many of the writers watched the whole 75+ minutes of the press conference.
greggforsbrey January 09, 2014 at 03:56 PM
I wish people would be this outraged about all of the lies that President Obama has told about the Afordable Care Act. Loosing your insurance coverage Vs sitting in traffic? Do you rally believe that someone closing some lanes of traffic is a big deal when the federal government can not even launch a web site? In the words of Hill, "get over it!!".
Ken Fitzpatrick January 09, 2014 at 03:56 PM
If the man wants to come apologize, let him. Be the bigger man not the whining politico you are turning out to be. The high road does not go through Fort Lee.
Paula January 09, 2014 at 04:02 PM
It is disingenuous to call this a "mistake". An error on the state's race to the top application for federal fund ing is a "mistake". This was a deliberate action based on the emails. The real question is "why" if the Governor was so far ahead in the election polls would this be necessary; for one endorsement? Maybe these hires were liberal plants trying to disrupt Christie's possible run for president?
Paula January 09, 2014 at 04:05 PM
Oh wait, maybe it's a ploy to give Christie a defining moment to show his sharp management skills. Oh wait, maybe these now fired officials are republican plants of another potential republican candidate for president. Whatever, the conspiracy, this was no mistake. And, if I were Governor, if I wasn't involved I would be having alot of sleepless nites wondering who else in my inner circle will stab me in the back.
Bokenlvr January 09, 2014 at 04:18 PM
It is amazing how many commenters are looking at Mayor Sokolich as the bad guy and Christie as the good guy. He is lying about this claim that he didn't know that his deputy chief of staff was creating a traffic jam for nothing. The culture of bullying and heavy-handedness with his detractors, even rudeness and name calling, speaks volumes. There is no intelligent person who honestly can say they believe him and not be lying to themselves. Be true to yourself - to thine own self be true, I should say. Thanks for reading.
Julie January 09, 2014 at 04:51 PM
It's amazing how Chris Christie made the whole press conference about himself and how he was wronged.The wronged people live in Fort Lee. He fired people because they lied to him, not because of what they intentionally did to the citizens of Fort Lee. He never even asked for details of the scheme from the people he fired. Is that because he already knows them? He said mistakes were made, there were no mistakes, this was intentional with total disregard for the safety and well being of the citizens of Fort Lee. Do not be surprised when all is said and done that Chris Christie is the ringleader and his underlings were foolishly following his directions.
TWP. Guy January 09, 2014 at 05:03 PM
They're all corrupt and that's that. Fort Lee no better. Save the tax payers some money Christie and STAY THE **** HOME! Doesn't your wife need the copter for shopping today?
suz January 09, 2014 at 05:50 PM
No Julie...don't be surprise when you are the one with egg on your face. I'm just really curious on how may Christie slayers are teachers or public workers. Care to share?
Julie January 09, 2014 at 06:14 PM
SUZ, I hope when the dust settles I do have egg on my face. I will be very relieved if our Governor was truly in the dark about this. There are just too many questions about his behavior during this whole ordeal that makes it hard for me to believe him right now. For the record, I am not a teacher or a public worker and I voted for Chris Christie.
suz January 09, 2014 at 06:27 PM
Julie, thanks for the info and your honesty. I really do believe that Christie is being truthful...I, as well, hope I am correct. The only reason I ask about professions here...listening to 101.5 on my weekly trip from Princeton today, I was surprised with all the bashing (towards Christie) and 50% of those were admitted teachers. I'm just saying.
Gottardo DiGiacopo January 09, 2014 at 06:28 PM
Tho i often like his style, today's 'apology' just didn't feel right. Governor Christie has a dangerous arrogance. He believes with a little honesty he can win anyone (even if it's half-a-lie he's telling). And sometimes he believes his own royalty should have him landing in helicopters at his sons peewee games. Whether he said it or not, he created this completely. i for one am disappointed; i thought he was better than that.
Susan M. January 09, 2014 at 09:50 PM
You don't have to be a teacher or a government employee not to like the tactics that Christie uses daily on people he disagrees with: bullying and belittling. I wouldn't like it if I was a Dem, Repub, or Independent. It's about how he treats people, period. Remember the Navy Seal law student he called an "idiot"? I don't remember that person being on the public payroll. Not everyone is out for revenge but sure looks like only Christie and his gang are.
Eyeballs January 09, 2014 at 09:54 PM
democrats are to blame... they are ruining everything... they all want handouts... thank you...
Susan M. January 09, 2014 at 09:58 PM
Both parties are to blame. Only a dope who is brainwashed would make an assumption that EVERYONE in one party could be responsible for all the country's problems and EVERYONE in the other party never caused one.
Frank Schapitl January 09, 2014 at 11:52 PM
From a leading GOP NJ conservative writer I also find it hard to believe the governor had no inkling of the retaliatory nature of the bridge closing. Today Christie maintained that he still believed until Wednesday that the cause for the closure was a traffic study. But last month two bridge employees testified under oath that they were pressured by Wildstein to go along with the lane closure. They also said they were ordered not to warn local officials. If Christie read that testimony and still thought the closing was legitimate, he’s too clueless to be governor.
Julie January 10, 2014 at 08:00 AM
Christie in his press conference said he was blindsided Wednesday morning, but later in the press conference said he had lost 2 nights of sleep over this. So it's the age old question, what did he know and when did he know it? There are approximately 1000 pages of emails etc being released on line today. This has only just begun. If Christie had any knowledge of this, someone who he has thrown under the bus will surely throw him under the bus. David Wildstein has already asked the State Assembly Panel for immunity, for which they don't have the authority to grant. Oh, what a web we weave………..
suz January 10, 2014 at 08:43 AM
Has anyone noticed that not one democrat in office in NJ has commented? I have a feeling that if (and when) this fiasco is investigated that a lot of skeletons are going to come flying out of the closet. The dems had better get those shredders warmed up.
Julie January 10, 2014 at 08:51 AM
Suz, I agree. I think that if you supported Christie, regardless of party, you were rewarded and if you opposed him you were punished. The rewards and fear of retribution were probably what prompted so many Dems to support him. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds.
greggforsbrey January 10, 2014 at 09:23 AM
Millions lost their health insurance, some sat in traffic, GET OVER IT!!
Julie January 10, 2014 at 10:15 AM
The bottom line here is that there was a willful abuse of power from the Governor's office and the responsible parties need to be held accountable. Otherwise, where is the deterrent to stop others? This debacle has nothing to do with a traffic jam and everything thing to do with retribution, arrogance and abuse.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »