There were a coupla things Christie said outside the DRPA last week that deserve further amplification. the first is that these guys “need to get religion.” Without the authority to fire the top management at the DRPA, he is basically putting them on notice that they need to completely disavow the old ways, and embrace the new. Otherwise it’ll be death by a thousand vetoes, essentially rendering the DRPA useless.
But asking these guys to not only recognize the problems of the past but also completely disassociate themselves from their complicity with that past might be a tall order. They may indeed find religion, but isn’t it a little too little, a little too late? It’s like how Daryl Strawberry used to hit most of his homeruns – in like, the 8th inning when the Mets were already up by seven.
The other comment that slipped under the radar was the Governor’s contention that the True Up arrangement regarding insurance commissions is what he finds “most disturbing.”
The Pennsylvania Treasurer has already questioned the legality of this arrangement ( see earlier posts ). Basically it comes down to this: two firms Willis on the Jersey side and Graham on the Pennsylvania side were charged with finding insurance policies for the DRPA’s various projects. All commissions for finding the best policies were split 50-50 between the two companies ( and by extension the two states ). However, Graham claims that his firm was doing all the work. And he was still forced to split the payouts, which of course come from toll payer money.
The True Up was a McGreevey era ( do you think he also had a hand in Watergate, since all roads seem to lead back to him ??!! ) arrangement, so it predates CEO John Matheussen. But it continued through this past Summer; meaning it happened on Matheussen’s watch.
Here is Matheussen’s letter to DRPA Commisioner John Dougherty from last month saying that he basically has no information about the True Up. See the last paragraph, particularly the highlighted portion. ( just click on all of these documents to enlarge )
Here is an agreement about a True Up payment from September 2009 ( a year ealier ) from the Graham company. Note that Matheussen was cc-ed, meaning he personally received all the relevant information about the arrangement.
And here is a letter from Graham to Dougherty laying out the amount that has been paid out in the True Up dating back to 2004. As you can see, the check numbers are included ( just in case Comptroller Matt Boxer happens to read the Zachary Fink Blog…what’s up, Matt? How you doin? Talk soon ). It adds up to more than half a million dollars of public money.
So, as you can see once again, the record doesn’t paint a very flattering picture. The DRPA might need more than a towering homerun into the parking lot after the Mets already have the lead.