TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Why is the Port Authority official who allegedly ordered the closures of local-access lanes to the George Washington Bridge buying up Internet domain address bearing the names of public officials?
The Record of Woodland Park reported that David Wildstein, the Port Authority’s second-most powerful appointee from New Jersey who announced his resignation earlier this month, bought domains that use the names of Pat Foye, the authority’s top executive; Barbara Buono, a Democratic state senator who lost to Gov. Chris Christie in this year’s gubernatorial race; and her running mate, labor leader Milly Silva.
It’s not clear why David Wildstein made the purchases. He declined the newspaper’s request for comment, and a top political strategist for Christie said neither he nor the governor were aware of Wildstein’s activities.
“This was done independently of the campaign and without any authorization,” Mike DuHaime said. “The governor had no knowledge either.”
Foye, Buono and Silva also were unaware Wildstein reserved their Internet identities. Some were stunned to hear about the purchases.
“It’s amusing, but also creepy and strange,” Silva told the newspaper. “The notion that this person purchased domain names I might seek to use is troubling.”
Internet records show Wildstein has purchased at least 48 domains and has renewed some of them annually. Domain names typically cost less than $10 a year.
None of the domain names are redirected to sinister websites and most take users to the website of Wildstein’s favorite baseball team, the Yankees.
Wildstein served as the Port Authority’s director of interstate capital projects before he announced Dec. 6 that he would step down at the end of the year. He is a childhood friend of the governor, who had appointed him to the post.
Wildstein allegedly ordered access lanes from Fort Lee on the George Washington Bridge to be closed four days in September, claiming a traffic study was being done. Three Port Authority officials, however, testified to a New Jersey Assembly panel last week that there was no traffic study being conducted.
Some Democrats believe Wildstein was sending a message to the Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Gov. Chris Christie in his re-election bid.
Christie has denied that the closures were politically motivated.
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