Report Raises New Questions About Relationship Between Governor Chris Christie and Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones
Ever since the Philadelphia Eagles were kicked out of the playoff picture by the Dallas Cowboys, it's been hard to avoid the talk surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his relationship with the Dallas Cowboys and their owner, Jerry Jones.
While the initial eyebrows may have been raised solely by fans of the Eagles, and maybe Giants fans too, a new report from philly.com is opening the door to a new round of questioning.
According to the article, As New Jersey Gov. Christopher J. Christie faces criticism over gifts he received from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, the NFL honcho's ties to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are also coming under scrutiny.
In March 2013, Christie, a longtime Cowboys fan, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced they had selected Legends Hospitality - which is owned by the New York Yankees, the Cowboys and the Checketts Partners Investment Fund - to develop and run an observation deck on the top of the port authority-owned One World Trade Center.
The Port Authority board, whose members are appointed by Christie and Cuomo, approved the contract, noting in a statement at the time that the approval "followed yesterday's call from Governors Cuomo and Christie to endorse the award of a contract to Legends."
This new issue takes Christie's fandom one step beyond "kind of discouraging" for most, if not all, of New Jersey sports fans. The article insinuates that Christie's traveling to the Cowboys playoff game could be a much larger violation than just a Jersey guy rooting for a team most Jersey guys shouldn't be rooting for.
The philly.com article does quote Randy Levine, Yankees president and Legends board member, as saying, "the bidding process didn't involve personal favors... Christie and Jones weren't personally involved."
The Governor's Office, we're told, referred all questions to the port authority.
Erica Dumas, a spokeswoman for the authority, said Legends was selected as the highest value proposer" based on "extensive due diligence including comparables research, feasibility and constructability studies and extensive financial analyses."
Now, New Jersey ethics rules do allow Christie to accept gifts from friends, but ethics experts say that such substantial gifts could, sometimes inadvertently, make a bad impression.
Check out the Governor's initial response to being with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during the Eagles December loss to the Cowboys: