Chris Christie Spent $82,000 in Taxpayer Money on NFL Concessions
Embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spent more than $82,000 in taxpayer money on booze, snacks and other concessions at National Football League games.
New Jersey Watchdog analyzed records from the Republican governor’s office and found Christie used $300,000 of his $360,000 state allowance over a five-year period to purchase food, alcohol and desserts at NFL games.
According to the state documents, more than $82,000 in taxpayer money was paid to the operator of food and beverage concessions at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where both the New York Giants and New York Jets play their home games.
“On 58 occasions, Christie used a debit card to pay a total of $82,594 to Delaware North Sportservice, which operates the concessions at MetLife,” New Jersey Watchdog reports. “The governor’s office did not provide any receipts, business reasons or names of individuals entertained, but defended the expense.”
“The official nature and business purpose of the event remains the case regardless of whether the event is at the State House, Drumthwacket (the governor’s residence) or a sporting venue,” Christie press secretary Kevin Roberts said in a prepared statement.
To avoid adding another major incident to Christie’s scandal-plagued administration, the New Jersey Republican State Committee reimbursed the state treasury in March 2012. Christie has reportedly stopped using his expense account at sporting venues.
Christie has a history of lavish spending on questionable activities. In February, the New York Times revealed powerful friends, allies, and associates—including Jordan’s King Abdullah, GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones—funded private jets, five-star hotel stays, opulent meals and celebrity meetings for the governor, all perfectly legal under a legal loophole permitting such largesse if it is paid for by others.
The latest revelation comes as Christie is on the defensive over the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal. Federal authorities accuse three former top Christie allies of conspiring to deliberately ensnarl rush hour traffic on the George Washington Bridge, the world’s busiest, which connects Fort Lee, New Jersey to New York City. The trio is also accused of trying to cover up their actions by concocting a bogus traffic study. The bridge lane closures were allegedly done to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie’s re-election campaign.
Last week, former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive (and Christie appointee) David Wildstein pleaded guilty for his role in the politically-motivated lane closures. Wildstein admitted admitted in federal court to conspiring with former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director William Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, to “punish” Sokolich.
‘Bridgegate,’ questions about his lavish spending habits and controversy surrounding the governor’s management of the superstorm Sandy recovery have cast a dark shadow over Christie’s 2016 presidential ambitions.