Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

Ex-loyalist contradicts Christie on shutdown of bridge lanes

One of the key players in a scandal surrounding Chris Christie accused the New Jersey governor on Friday of lying about his role.

David Wildstein, a former Christie appointee who presided over the George Washington Bridge lane closures at the center of the controversy, said through a letter from his attorney that "evidence exists … tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated."

The accusation was denied by the office of Christie, a possible Republican presidential hopeful.

Wildstein is the first Christie ally to publicly question the governor's account, and his claim could further damage Christie as he tries to restore his image amid aggressive investigations by Democratic lawmakers and a federal prosecutor.

Also Friday, Bill Stepien, a longtime political adviser to Christie, said he would refuse to testify before the state legislative committee investigating the episode — raising the possibility that more damaging information could emerge.

Wildstein, who attended the same high school as Christie, was hired with the governor's blessing to a position at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge.

In September, Wildstein and another of Christie's top appointees at the Port Authority ordered the lane closures, causing four days of gridlock in Fort Lee, N.J., apparently as retribution against the town's mayor for not endorsing Christie for re-election.

Wildstein resigned in December.

"Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he could prove the accuracy of some," wrote his attorney, Alan Zegas.

Wildstein gave almost no details about what he is asserting is untrue in Christie's accounts. And he said nothing about what the important evidence is, or who has it. That made it hard to judge what role Wildstein's letter would play in the investigations.

During a news conference in January, Christie said he had only recently learned that the closures had been ordered by his administration.

"I had no knowledge of this — of the planning, the execution or anything about it — and that I first found out about it after it was over," Christie said then.

Comments
Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68

Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

More than a year ago, Kevin Knox II stepped across the stage at the Straz Center to receive his high school diploma.On Thursday, the former Tampa Catholic standout was on basketball's biggest stage as he fulfilled his lifelong goal of playing in the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start the upcoming season likely means that the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for three crucial games.Fitzpatrick stepped in as a starter for three games last year when W...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

TAMPA — The Bucs will open the upcoming season without the face of their franchise, as quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended three games by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy.Winston, 24, was accused of groping a ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

His name was Berry and berry was his passion — the strawberry that put his beloved Plant City on the map.Alfred "Al" Berry was born with the name, but he took on his role as chief promoter of Plant City through his four decades of work with the commu...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

FORT LAUDERDALE — Authorities in Florida have arrested a suspect in the killing of rising rap star XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot in his luxury BMW electric car as he left an upscale motorcycle dealership.Dedrick Devonshay Williams, 22, of Pompan...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

ST. PETERSBURG — Three lieutenants responsible for supervising the police officers who patrol the city were found to have been faking their work hours instead of showing up for duty on time.In some cases, the watch commanders submitted time sheets st...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Updated: 2 hours ago