Chris Christie Hit over Atlantic City Takeover and Family Connections

Chris Christie
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Trenton, NJ

The International Business Times (IBT) has a report about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the state’s takeover of Atlantic City, and Christie’s bother, Todd Christie, currently employed by accounting firm Ernst & Young (E&Y). While the appearance of impropriety may be unavoidable, E&Y is one of the so-called “Big Four” accounting firms. Consequently, their having business dealings with any city or state is unremarkable.

Still, Christie’s brother does appear to be something of an albatross around the Governor’s neck as he struggles to gain traction in a potential run for the White House in 2016. IBT reports:

As one of its first moves in its state takeover of financially strapped Atlantic City, Chris Christie’s administration has awarded a lucrative government contract to the financial services firm that employs the Republican governor’s brother, Todd Christie. The deal followed an even bigger contract given to the firm by Christie officials only weeks after the governor’s brother began working there.

In January, Chris Christie signed an executive order installing an emergency management team to develop “a plan to place the finances of Atlantic City in stable condition on a long-term basis.” Two months later, Reuters obtained documents showing that Christie administration officials signed a contract with Ernst & Young, which hired Todd Christie as a New Jersey-based director in March 2013. Todd Christie is listed as working on the firm’s “business development” in campaign finance records.

A Christie spokesperson responded to IBT:

In a statement provided by Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts, the New Jersey attorney general’s office said Ernst & Young was selected “based on its expertise in this area,” and noted that the firm had been involved in Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings, which it says are “functions similar to the services they are providing in Atlantic City.”

And the hits just keep coming:

Todd Christie’s business dealings also came up during the 2012 presidential campaign.

According to the book “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” Todd Christie was seen as one of a host of “potential land mines” in Chris Christie’s record when Mitt Romney’s aides were vetting potential vice presidential nominees. One item in particular was a 2008 civil fraud settlement Todd Christie had reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he admitted to making “hundreds of trades in which customers had been systematically overcharged” as an executive at Spear, Leeds & Kellogg.

The criminal investigation of that firm saw 15 traders indicted, but not Todd Christie. Two years after that, then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie gave a no-bid contract to the federal prosecutor in New York who led the SEC’s investigation into Todd Christie.