Mayor Michael Gonnelli presented evidence last week that partly contradicts a New York Times cover story saying that certain mayors got a piece of 9/11 wreckage in the last few years as a political favor from (or in exchange for an endorsement of) Gov. Chris Christie.
In Tuesday’s New York Times it was reported that Gov. Christie’s office offered pieces of World Trade Center steel as “politically motivated gifts” to various towns and politicians in exchange for endorsements of the governor.
An accompanying photograph showed Gonnelli standing with Bill Baroni, then the executive director of the Port Authority, with a piece of steel from the World Trade Center ruins in 2012. Baroni at the time was Gov. Christie’s top staff appointee at the Port Authority.
But on Wednesday, Gonnelli made public a series of e-mails between David Drumeler, the Secaucus Town Administrator, and the Port Authority requesting a piece of steel for Secaucus’ 10th anniversary celebration of 9/11.
The e-mails show Drumeler contacting Nancy Johnson at the Port Authority, who was handling these requests.
“At no time did we contact the governor's office, and only dealt with the Port Authority for this request,” said Drumeler. “From reading today's New York Times, they indicated in their story that Ms. Johnson was the appropriate employee dealing with these requests."
“This is how we obtained our piece of steel for the center of town, through the proper channels,” Gonnelli said. “Not like it’s been reported.”
The Times story reported the matter as fact but did not cite any sources. --Art Schwartz