The borough of Fort Lee, N.J. on Tuesday responded to an open records request from lawyers representing the office of Gov. Chris Christie (R) by sending them thousands pages of internal documents related to the George Washington Bridge lane closures.
Earlier this month, attorney Randy Mastro, who has been retained by the governor’s office, asked the borough to produce “any and all” documents and correspondence in its possession related to the lane closures, including documents related to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and and any documents or correspondence related to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and conversations with the Christie campaign or the subject of a Christie endorsement. The request also asked for any related documents that Fort Lee and its officials had released to media outlets, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
In a response letter to Mastro sent Tuesday, the Fort Lee’s clerk wrote that most of the attorney’s request exceeded the borough’s “statutory obligations” regarding open records. But “notwithstanding,” the borough was producing “documents in its possession where the responsiveness is readily apparent, and which have already been a matter of public record.”
“This includes documents that are readily available due to the existence of antecedent public records requests and inquiries from investigative agencies, which were then publicly released,” Borough Clerk Neil Grant wrote to Mastro. “Although the Borough is unable to conduct the comprehensive research project sought through Requests Nos. 1-3, upon information and belief, the results, if any were responsive, should largely be subsumed within the response to Request No. 4, together with the additional records that have been located to date.”
“Request No. 4” refers to Mastro’s request for documents released to media outlets.
“In this regard, the Borough is prepared to produce 2,204 pages of documents, consisting of file documents that have been produced to the Inspector General for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New Jersey Legislature, and to various members of the news media.”
TPM has obtained copies of the documents released to Mastro. Read them below, and if you see anything worth noting, send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Fort Lee Docs” in the subject line.