Weinberg: Cowboy fan Christie ‘tone deaf to the regular Jersey guy’
The controversy continues to swirl around Gov. Chris Christie's personal and possible business relationship with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
At a press conference Thursday to announce a future veto override attempt of Christie's veto of Port Authority reform legislation, State Sen. Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) questioned Christie's acceptance of gifts from Jones, whose company landed a Port Authority contract in 2013.
An Executive Order first signed by Gov. Jim McGreevey in 2003 and later updated by Christie allows a governor to accept gifts from "family and personal friends." That was the reason given to justify Christie's decision to accept luxury box seats and travel accommodations from Jones to attend Cowboys games.
"There's certainly questions that have been raised," Weinberg said. "I mean, I don't know how you qualify a friend. I know who my friends are and then I know who lobbyists are and I know who colleagues are. You know, you kind of know."
Earlier this week, the American Democracy Legal Fund filed ethics complaints against Christie citing Jones' relationship with the Port Authority. Weinberg said accepting gifts from Jones showed poor judgment on the part of the governor.
"I think that it showed a governor who's apparently tone deaf to the regular Jersey guy who doesn't get flown on a private plane to see a football game, sit in the owner's box, have some type of business relationship that could have existed and not think that you know, maybe this doesn't look a little strange. Well it does," Weinberg said.
A spokesperson for the governor did not respond to a request seeking comment regarding Weinberg's statements.
The Select Committee on Investigation seemed poised to be the first panel to probe Christie's ties to Jones. Co-chair, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) said Tuesday that he and Weinberg discussed the possibility, but Wednesday a spokesman for the Assembly Democrats' Office said that would not happen. Weinberg left the door open Thursday.
"We're talking about it," Weinberg explained.