GOV. CHRISTIE SHEDS HIS ‘OPEN AND HONEST’ REFORMER DISGUISE Analysis by Mark Lagerkvist

Chris Christie’s office sends New Jersey Watchdog a message every other Tuesday – a reminder of how the governor and his staff flout the law and fight transparency in state government.
“This email serves to hereby request a two-week extension regarding your OPRA request nos.W82964 and W82965,” it states. Since January, the governor has so far taken [...]

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GOV. CHRISTIE’S CREW HELPS EX-LEGISLATOR DOUBLE HIS PENSION Investigative Report by Mark Lagerkvist

Larry Chatzidakis needed a favor from Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.
Nearing his 62nd birthday, the former New Jersey assemblyman had never held a full-time public job. Based on his 11 years as a legislator plus other part-time government posts, Chatzidakis might qualify for a modest state pension of roughly $19,000 a year.
Then a new executive position was created [...]

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JUDGE GIVES NJ ONE LAST CHANCE TO KEEP ‘DOUBLEGATE’ SECRETS Investigative Report by Mark Lagerkvist

A judge is giving the state’s Division of Criminal Justice one final chance to argue why an index of records from a hush-hush criminal investigation involving Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno should not be released to a New Jersey Watchdog reporter.
“I frankly don’t see why it should be kept confidential,” said Judge Mary C. Jacobson during [...]

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WHO PAYS FOR CHRISTIE’S TRIPS? REPORTER SUES NJ FOR RECORDS Investigative Report by Mark Lagerkvist

Who really pays for Gov. Chris Christie’s frequent trips away from New Jersey?
A New Jersey Watchdog reporter is suing the governor’s office in Mercer County Superior Court for records of third-parties who pay for the out-of-state trips taken by Christie and his senior staff.
“There is the public interest in assessing just who is paying [...]

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CHRISTIE BODYGUARD WITH STICKY FINGERS GETS SLAP ON WRIST Report by Mark Lagerkvist

A New Jersey State Police bodyguard to Gov. Chris Christie is getting off with a slap on the wrist – and no criminal record – in a Pennsylvania shoplifting case.
William Carvounis made national headlines two months ago when New Jersey Watchdog broke the story of his shoplifting spree at Cabela’s in Hamburg, PA.
The 36-year-old [...]

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250 NJ OFFICIALS EARN MORE THAN CHRISTIE, BUT GOV GETS PERKS Report by Mark Lagerkvist

Which New Jersey state official receives the highest salary?
If you guessed Gov. Chris Christie, you’re not even close.
Christie’s $175,000 a year salary ranked only 251st among state employees last year, according to a New Jersey Watchdog analysis of Treasury payroll data.
Topping the list at $261,323 was James Weinstein, who stepped down last month as [...]

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CHRISTIE’S POLITICAL COMEBACK FACES ‘DOUBLEGATE’ CHALLENGE Investigative Report by Mark Lagerkvist

As Gov. Chris Christie proclaimed his exoneration in the Bridgegate scandal, he refused to discuss his lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno.
“This is my press conference, not hers,” snapped Christie. A reporter who attempted a follow-up question was quickly interrupted.
The internal investigation commissioned by the governor had also cleared Guadagno of an allegation she threatened to withhold Superstorm [...]

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GOV. CHRISTIE TEACHES POLITICAL LESSON ON SELF-EXONERATION Analysis by Mark Lagerkvist

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he wants to learn from Bridgegate.  But in reality, he is teaching a lesson on how a skilled politician manipulates public opinion.
In the classroom of the real world, here is the syllabus for Christie’s new course in Surviving Scandal 101:

Investigate yourself – and announce the results before other investigations have [...]

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40 STATE PART-TIME TEMPS COLLECT NEARLY $6 MILLION A YEAR Investigative Report by Mark Lagerkvist

With an income exceeding $225,000 last year, Cathy Coyle is the most expensive part-time temp in New Jersey state government.
The NJ Department of Education paid Coyle $151,862 last year as a “special services” employee. The retired Jersey City school executive also collects a $73,765 annual pension from the state.
Coyle is not alone. The state agency’s [...]

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‘RETIRED’ SCHOOL CHIEF TEACHES NJ PENSION A $1.7 MILLION LESSON Investigative Report by Mark Lagerkvist

New Jersey taxpayers and lawmakers could learn a lesson on double-dipping from Robert Mahon, a retired school chief who never really quit working.
Mahon has collected $1.7 million in pension checks since he took early retirement in 1995 as superintendent of Ocean Township schools in Monmouth County.
Thanks to a loophole in pension law, retiree Mahon has [...]

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