David Wildstein, the former Livingston Mayor who Chris Christie appointed Director of Interstate Capital Projects at the Port Authority, has moved to Florida, PolitickerNJ has learned. Wildstein—who happens to have founded this website, which he built into the state’s uncontested leader of political news under the pseudonym Wally Edge—was born and raised in New Jersey. And in working for the Port Authority, he represented New Jersey’s interests in an official capacity.
So it comes as somewhat of a surprise to discover that Wildstein, like so many other empty nesters exhausted by high New Jersey taxes, is selling his Montville home and has already decamped for the warmer weather and lower taxes in the Sunshine State.
New Jersey regularly ranks near the bottom of lists of tax-friendly states, while Florida, with no personal income tax or inheritance tax, always is near the top. (On this list, Florida is 4th; New Jersey is 50th). Wildstein, whose children are grown, is also known to have family in Florida, making it all the more attractive a destination.
According to Wildstein’s lawyer, Alan Zegas, “He moved to Florida in June and is selling his house because his three children no longer live at home and he has family in Florida.”
Wildstein attended high school with Chris Christie and became close to the future governor, who is widely understood to have been a habitual reader of PolitickerNJ. Just how close the two men were is the subject of some dispute. They were clearly close enough for Christie to appoint Wildstein to a sensitive—and at $150,000 a year, lucrative—position at the Port Authority, where Wildstein’s portfolio included orchestrating the political cover needed for Christie’s toll hikes on the tunnels. But after the Bridgegate scandal broke, in which Bridget Kelly texted “time for traffic problems in Fort Lee” to Wildstein, Christie moved quickly to distance himself from his former school chum.
At Christie’s famous marathon first press conference following the scandal, he sought to portray the relationship as virtually non-existent, stating that he as “class president and an athlete” didn’t “travel in the same circles” at Livingston High. The governor also stated “I don’t even remember in the last four years even having a meeting in my office with David Wildstein.” But reporting by Matt Katz and Andrea Bernstein produced diaries that proved at least seven meetings at public events, plus two meetings in the governor’s office. This website also unearthed a never-before-seen photo of Governor Christie and David Wildstein together in the state capitol.
In May, Wildstein pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy connected to the Bridgegate case and is expected to be sentenced sometime next spring.