In a recent column I had indicated that Todd Christie had sold his firm, Spear Leeds & Kellogg for $100 million dollars.
I stand corrected on that statement. Todd Christie did not “own” Spear Leeds & Kellogg, rather he was a principal in the firm. When the firm was sold, it was not sold for $100 million dollars. It was sold for $6.1 Billion dollars. Todd Christie’s share of that sale was $100 million dollars. I thank those of you who provided the corrected information.
When you get up to 10 or 11 digits, it is easy to mix up the numbers.
The fallout from this story has angered a number of people who seem to confuse the point of the story. The question was never about Todd Christie, it was about a multi-million dollar monitoring contract given to the US Attorney from NY who had to deal with the situation after the SEC indicated a significant amount of wrong doing on Todd’s part. That was David N. Kelly who did not indict Todd Christie when so many others in the same situation were indicted. The question is not that he didn’t, but why. What, specifically, was different?
An Associate Regional Director of the SEC, David Rosenthal stated, “”The conduct here was quite egregious,” He went on to say, “Christie was one of the worst.”. Commenting on all the defendants in the same case, David N. Kelly, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said, “These defendants broke the rules repeatedly.” “They cheated the markets and the cheated the investors who relied upon them.”
So what? The issue has always been the no bid monitoring contract given to David N. Kelly after he left the US Attorney’s office that just doesn’t look good and requires explanation. What changed?
Chris Christie has strenuously objected about his brother being drawn into this discussion. The question has never been about Todd. It is about how and why David Kelly, the prosecutor in NY who handled the case, Herb Stern his mentor and political benefactor and former Attorney General John Ashcroft, his former boss at the Justice Department were awarded a multi-million dollar no bid monitoring contracts. What is the process regarding how any monitor is chosen? If it is the whim of a single person, we need to know that.
Even the President or a Governor cannot do that. And, if that is the case, it is a very flawed system. The public has a genuine problem with any no bid contract. And, when those contracts run into the millions of dollars, it raises legitimate questions that deserve honest answers, not belligerence.
I’ve written to the United States Justice Department under the Freedom of Information Act to ask them to provide me with the process and criteria used in the selection of federal monitors. I have also written to Mr. Kelley at his law firm and to Senator Joseph Kyrillos, Chairman of Chris Christie’s campaign, to ask their help in securing all those documents and correspondence, including e-mails between Mr. Christie and Mr. Kelley, related to Chris Christie’s selection of David Kelley as a federal monitor. These letters can be found at thepublicneedstoknow.
Chris Christie has repeatedly said that David Kelley was “the best person for the job.” Well at a recent town meeting in Cape May Chris Christie made comments about the entire SEC complaint that was handled by the US Attorney in NY, specifically, David Kelley’s office.
A female member of the audience asked a question about his brother and David Kelly’s no bid monitoring contract. Here is Chris Christie’s response.
“My brother was completely exonerated of the garbage that you just read. He was not indicted by the Federal Government in which he was charged by the SEC, sued by the SEC for those charges. They asked that he be fined, censured, banned from the business. That case was resolved. He was found to have committed no wrong doing. He was not fined, he was not censured, he was not banned from the business for one day. Each of the charges was completely baseless and his reputation was dragged through the mud publically cause his brother was a public servant which made him a public figure. And you have now engaged in, engaged in doing exactly the same thing. To engage a person who never did anything wrong except being born two years after me.
I will tell you that it is shameful, completely shameful, to have people start throwing family member of people who offer themselves for public office in the dirt in an attempt to sully me and my reputation.
And by the way, all those people who were indicted they were all exonerated also. Of the 15 people who were indicted 15 were exonerated of the 20 who were sued by the SEC 15 of them were exonerated and 5 still have their cases pending. If there is something you want to say about my reputation, say it. Leave my brother out of it.”
If David N. Kelly was the best person for the job, how did all of these cases fall apart? He continues to avoid answering the original question. And, he displays a temper that is unbecoming for someone who thinks that they are going to convince the electorate that they have the qualities to be the governor of 8.5 million people. This is a contest for governor. He needs to win people over, not antagonize them with his attitude.
During the exchange, the female questioner, who he contemptuously identified as “bifocals” in reference to her glasses, asked if Kelly got a $29 million dollar contract. Christie said no. She then asked a more specific question. “Did you (Chris Christie) give/award a multi-million no bid contract to David Kelly?”
Chris Christie said “NO”! ??? Was this spin or anger? To quote Chris Christie, “If there is something you want to say about my reputation, say it”!
Why attack the questioner? Nothing more needs to be said and, the question continues to remain unanswered.