The political fallout continues for New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump over a massive settlement between the state and the real estate mogul. Following a front-page story in the New York Times detailing Trump’s discount on back taxes owed to the state for his declining Atlantic City casinos, New Jersey’s State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) is calling for the Christie administration to make documents related to the settlement public.
Trump had owed close to $30 million in taxes, fees and interest. That sum that shrank to $5 million in a settlement he reached with the state after Christie took office in 2009. Weinberg, who has been a frequent critic of Christie, has made Open Public Records Act requests to the governor’s office, the state Department of Treasury and the state Attorney General for internal memos on the 2011 settlement.
“New Jersey residents deserve to know why the company chaired by Donald Trump until 2009, and that he remained financially tied to for several years, was given a large discount on the taxes owed, and what discussions took place between the administration and the company leading up to that agreement,” Weinberg wrote. “We are asking the administration to provide documentation that we hope will shed light on the deal for New Jerseyans.”
The revelations regarding Trump’s tax bill have been a further blow for a presidential campaign that has been suffering in key swing states, and for a governor who has faced criticism from many Republicans in his home state since his early and enthusiastic endorsement of the former reality star in February. Christie is currently serving as the head of Trump’s White House transition team.
According to the Times, Trump had given large contributions to the Republican Governor’s Association during Christie’s tenure as chairman, and to New Jersey’s Drumthwacket foundation, which pays for maintenance and improvements to the governor’s mansion.
Brian Murray, a spokesman for Christie, said in a statement earlier this month that Christie had been unaware of the Department of Treasury and Attorney General’s terms in the settlement.
“The New York Times once again shows their bias by using a complex bankruptcy settlement to weave a piece of political fiction,” Murray wrote. “They ignore this simple fact: Governor Christie had no knowledge of or involvement in the routine settlement of this matter by the State Treasurer and Attorney General.”
Weinberg herself has been accused of taking her marching orders from the DNC. Observer New Jersey Politics, formerly PolitickerNJ, reported earlier this month on a hacked email published by Wikileaks in which a DNC press secretary supplied the Bergen County Democrat with a quote critical of Christie’s expanding role in the Trump campaign. The quote later appeared in an altered form in an email newsletter from Politico New Jersey.
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.