Christie’s unconstitutional bond sale for statehouse renovation leaves unanswered questions

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John Wisniewski filed suit last Friday against Governor Christie and the Economic Development Authority to prevent the New Jersey Statehouse renovation from going forward.

Today, it was learned the state has already sold the bonds in a speed never before seen in the governor’s office. The bonds were sold on Thursday, May 11th – the same day the vote approving the lease was taken.

“The fact the state had the bonds prepared and buyers lined up before the vote, tells us that Christie and his cronies cut a backroom deal designed to end run the process and jam this renovation right down the voters throats,” said Wisniewski. “Aside from the contempt toward voters, the process was so quick that it raises significant red flags and leaves multiple questions about how the process played out.”

Timeline:
10:00 am – EDA meets and approves bonds
10:30 am – bonds are sold

All the people involved in the 30 minute deal:
Bond Counsel
Underwriter counsel
Underwriters
Buyers

“This overly compressed, 30 minute timeline is proof that a number of people were involved to potentially sell the bonds before they legally allowed to do so,” said Wisniewski. “The legislature has a fiduciary responsibility to examine the sale documents to determine if everything was done legally and appropriately.”

Wisniewski continued, “Legal or not, enough is enough. It is past time to eliminate the bullying and contempt for the public that has marked Chris Christie term. We need real leadership that allows for a real discussion of issues and will push back against these deals where someone is getting rich and the taxpayers are left holding the bag.”

About the deal:

Estimated costs for the Statehouse renovation were at one time $38 million which ballooned to $300 million and before the restoration even begins new projections say it may go over $750 million.

The shell game begins with the State Capitol Joint Management Commission (JMC) leasing the Statehouse for just $1 to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). The EDA then leases the Statehouse right back to the JMC. The whole purpose of this runaround is to enable the Management Commission to disguise debt payments as rent payments, rent payments on a building the people already own. It doesn’t pass the smell test, and it doesn’t adhere to the laws of New Jersey.