NEW YORK, June 24 A second bridge investigation
linked to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is underway, this
one focusing on possible securities law violations involving the
Pulaski Skyway bridge, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The new inquiry was prompted by an ongoing investigation
into "Bridgegate," the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal
that has engulfed Christie, a potential 2016 Republican
contender for the White House.
Now investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney's
Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission are focusing
on the Christie administration and the Port Authority of New
York and New Jersey.
According to the Times, officials are probing whether bond
holders were intentionally deceived by a $1.8 billion agreement
in 2011 to repair the Skyway, which connects the New Jersey
cities of Newark and Jersey City.
In bond documents, the Port Authority said the project was
part of "Lincoln Tunnel Access Infrastructure Improvements,"
although the Skyway is more than 9 miles (14 kilometers) south
of the Lincoln Tunnel connecting Weehawken, New Jersey and
midtown Manhattan in New York City.
The Christie administration had relentlessly lobbied to use
Port Authority money to repair the Skyway but was told it was
ineligible because the bridge is state-owned and operated, the
Times reported. The Port Authority recast the bridge as an
access road to the Lincoln Tunnel and the funding was secured,
the newspaper said.
Investigators are scrutinizing the accuracy of the access
road description as a possible violation of the Martin Act, a
New York State law that carries felony charges for intentionally
deceiving bond holders, according to the Times. The probe could
also result in civil action under the Martin Act or by the SEC
under federal securities laws.
Still underway are investigations into the George Washington
Bridge scandal, in which a massive traffic disruption in
September 2013 was allegedly orchestrated by two Christie aides
in retaliation against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who did
not endorse Christie's re-election bid.
The four-day closure of access lanes in Fort Lee snarled
traffic, delaying school buses, ambulances and commuters.
Christie has denied he knew about or was involved in the
incident. He fired one top aide and the other resigned under
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Susan Heavey)