Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich says the city will seek reimbursement for Bridge-Gate fees
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich says that the city will seek full reimbursement from the Port Authority for legal fees accrued during the Bridge-Gate trial.
Mayor Sokolich says that the trial cost the city roughly $250,000 to $300,000.
Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni, two former allies of Gov. Chris Christie, were convicted Friday of conspiring to punish Mayor Sokolich for refusing to endorse the governor's 2013 re-election campaign. Kelly and Baroni, along with former Port Authority official David Wildstein set up a fake traffic study designed to cause major gridlock in Fort Lee.
Gov. Chris Christie came to Fort Lee to personally apologize to the mayor when the scandal first broke. Mayor Sokolich says that at the time, he believed that the governor had no prior knowledge about the plot, but says that in light of the verdict, he may change his mind.
"I am not rooting for the highest elected official in the state of New Jersey, to somehow be a part of this... I still give him the benefit of the doubt, but not by much," Sokolich says.
Sokolich says that that trial brought out some of the ugly aspects of New Jersey politics.
"If nothing comes of this other than the guilty plea and the conviction of two individuals, and there aren't reforms to make sure something like this never ever happens again, then really New Jersey truly is the victim here," he says.
The mayor says that he feels that the maximum sentence of about 20 years for Kelly and Baroni seems a bit too much, but says that he will let the judge make that decision.