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Mon Jan 13, 2014, 09:22 PM

All roads lead to Michele Brown, Chris Christie's longterm and very well paid pal.

Last edited Tue Jan 14, 2014, 05:01 AM - Edit history (12)

She’s the person with no background in Economic Development who Christie put at the head of what Christie likes to call New Jersey’s “bank.” So unqualified (she was a former prosecuting attorney), that Christie had to hire a new person at the same time to do the actual job. But she gets her job done – whatever it is that he wants her to do -- for $225 K a year.

Because she’s the head of the Economic Development Authority, she would have to give approval for the billion dollar Fort Lee development. . . or withhold it. (The project that MSNBC’s Steve Kornaki thinks might be the real reason they closed the lanes to the bridge in September.)

By sheer coincidence (wink, wink), on the fourth day of the traffic jam, she was with Chris Christie at the Jersey shore, watching the fire on the boardwalk. Bridget Kelly was also there, texting others about the George Washington Bridge/Fort Lee traffic mess. (But no one talked to Christie about the ongoing traffic disaster. Right.)

Michele Brown is also the person who approved the use of Federal Hurricane Sandy funds for the Stronger than the Storm PR campaign featuring Christie and his family – a diversion of funds that is now being investigated by the Feds.

Michele Brown’s only qualification for her job appears to be her extremely strong ties to Christie. They are friends and neighbors and their families have traveled together. He was her supervisor, and as such would sign off on her travel vouchers to the same fancy hotels where he stayed. SHE, in turn, signed off on some of HIS travel vouchers.

In the past, she’s been accused of improperly assisting Christie, and he’s been accused of lending her money without properly reporting it.


In a quiet 10 a.m. meeting, the authority’s board met Wednesday to approve a new executive structure — and to approve new leadership including Brown as the authority’s CEO.

In a structural change to the agency, which operates the state’s multimillion-dollar economic development programs, Franzini’s role as president and CEO will be divided in two. The board chairman, Al Koeppe, recommended splitting Franzini’s role, with Brown as CEO and Timothy Lizura, EDA’s current vice president of finance and development, as the first president and chief operating officer.


After serving over 18 years and Governors of both parties, it was announced the other day that Caren Franzini would be resigning as head of the Economic Development Authority. Also announced, her replacement will be long-time Christie aide Michele Brown. . . .

In a memo to other board members, Mr. Koeppe described Ms. Brown's position as being strategic in its focus. The board also created a new post of president and chief operating officer and appointed Timothy J. Lizura, a senior vice president of the economic development authority, to it. The organization is often described as one of the largest state-sponsored development banks in the country.

That basically sounds like she isn't qualified past knowing Christie, so the job of one person has now become the job of two. Follow me below for the impact on the taxpayers and what it all means.

So they say that Brown's salary leading the agency will be $225,000, a substantial salary raise up from the $140,000 she makes now. But it's also up from what Franzini was making to do the job herself because according to the Asbury Park Press Data Universe.

As you can see, Franzini was only making $186,600. So the new head of the agency is making nearly $40,000 more than her predecessor, to do only half the job. Timothy Lizura will now be making $201,000 to do the other half of the job that Brown can't do, which is a raise for him as well according to the data universe:

So taxpayers will now be paying $426,000 in salary each year to do the job that was being paid $186,600. That is a 128% percent increase to get the same job done and doesn't even count the hit on the pension side, which the Governor likes to rail on oh so much. So much for fiscal conservatism. It continues to pay to be Friends of Christie.


TRENTON — Michele A. Brown, a former top aide to Gov. Chris Christie who heads the state agency overseeing the “Stronger than the Storm” $25-million tourism campaign, voted to award the contract even though she was unqualified to review such bids, critics of the deal claim.

Brown, the chief executive officer of the N.J. Economic Development Authority and the ranking administration official on the state contract selection committee in March, voted with five other panel members to approve the campaign, an Asbury Park Press review of bid documents found. The TV commercials feature Christie and his family and have played in New Jersey and neighboring states. The project is funded by federal disaster aid approved by Congress after superstorm Sandy.

Brown lacked a background in business development, marketing or tourism when she became head of the EDA in October on Christie’s recommendation, according to her past work history posted on the authority website. EDA officials did not respond to a request for more information about Brown’s experience. Fourteen authority board directors — nearly all are gubernatorial appointees or administration members — voted unanimously to approve Brown for the job.


When news broke in August that the former United States attorney, Christopher J. Christie, had lent $46,000 to a top aide in the federal prosecutor’s office, he said he was merely helping a friend in need. He also said the aide, Michele Brown, had done nothing to help his gubernatorial campaign.

But interviews with federal law enforcement officials suggest that Ms. Brown used her position in two significant and possibly improper ways to try to aid Mr. Christie in his run for governor.

In March, when Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s campaign requested public records about Mr. Christie’s tenure as prosecutor, Ms. Brown interceded to oversee the responses to the inquiries, taking over for the staff member who normally oversaw Freedom of Information Act requests, according to federal law enforcement officials in Newark and Washington. The requested information included records about Mr. Christie’s travel and expenses, along with Ms. Brown’s travel records.

In mid-June, when F.B.I. agents and prosecutors gathered to set a date for the arrests of more than 40 targets of a corruption and money-laundering probe, Ms. Brown alone argued for the arrests to be made before July 1. She later told colleagues that she wanted to ensure that the arrests occurred before Mr. Christie’s permanent successor took office, according to three federal law enforcement officials briefed on the conversation, presumably so that Mr. Christie would be given credit for the roundup.



When Chris Christie gave his top aide Michele Brown a $46,000 loan and didn't report it on his tax return or other disclosure documents, that was just an oversight and not a conflict of interest.


And when Michele Brown pushed to have the Dwek bribery arrests of elected Democrats announced at an opportune time during the campaign, there was nothing wrong with that. The same Michele Brown that had the $46,000 unreported loan from her boss Chris Christie.


2. Lending nearly $50,000 to aide who helped his campaign

When Jon Corzine’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign requested public records from Christie’s time as prosecutor, we learned a lot about his lavish spending habits. We also learned about Christie’s generosity: He lent $46,000 to Michele Brown, a top aide in the prosecutor’s office. Christie denied that Brown had done anything to help his gubernatorial campaign, but she had—pushing for a series of high-profile arrests to be made before Christie left his post as U.S. attorney so that he would receive full credit on the campaign trail. Brown now serves as CEO of the Economic Development Authority in Christie’s administration.


Accompanying the Governor were New Jersey State Fire Marshall William Kramer, Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable, and President of New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority Michele Brown.

(Note: that server is down, but this one isn't:


Christie will be joined at the nearby Seaside Heights police station with State Fire Marshall William Kramer, Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable, and Michele Brown, president of New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority.


Associated Press | Posted Oct 21, 2009
TRENTON - U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg is calling for a federal investigation into allegations that Chris Christie, the Republican candidate for governor in New Jersey, used the office of U.S. attorney for political gain.

The call for a Justice Department investigation follows accusations that Christie politicized the office of the top federal prosecutor while serving there for seven years in the Bush administration. Lautenberg is asking the Justice Department to look into whether the U.S. attorney's office aided Christie's campaign after he resigned in December to run for governor.


"It is shocking to learn that a former deputy to Chris Christie was conducting a political campaign within the U.S. attorney's Office," Lautenberg said in a statement. "It was particularly distressing that this raw political agenda came into an office with a historic reputation for fair and unbiased dispensation of justice, and Ms. Brown went so far as to try to bring political campaign objectives into the planning of law enforcement actions."


Unnamed federal law enforcement officials told The Times that Brown, who had borrowed $46,000 from Christie to settle credit card debt in 2007, yielded (sic) her influence inside the U


In trips in 2007 and 2008, his top deputy, Michele Brown, also exceeded the guidelines after Christie approved her requests for rooms in the same 5-star hotels where he was booked.

The vouchers show Christie and Brown stayed at the NineZero Hotel in Boston on Oct. 16, 2007 and each billed taxpayers $449 plus taxes and fees for their rooms, more than double the government allowance for a Boston hotel room at the time, according to a General Services Administration travel reimbursement table.
Christie made a mortgage loan to Brown five days after they returned from Boston, on Oct. 22, 2007. He failed to report the loan on federal ethics forms and on his 2007 federal income tax returns, omissions he later described as a mistake. Brown has since resigned and joined a private law firm.


In some cases his travel vouchers were approved first by Brown, then certified by a third person. Christie, who was Brown’s supervisor, signed off on her travel . . . . .

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Reply All roads lead to Michele Brown, Chris Christie's longterm and very well paid pal. (Original post)
pnwmom Jan 2014 OP
Bjorn Against Jan 2014 #1
elfin Jan 2014 #2
Politicalboi Jan 2014 #3
ProSense Jan 2014 #4
pnwmom Jan 2014 #5
Spazito Jan 2014 #6
Cha Jan 2014 #7
Spazito Jan 2014 #9
Cha Jan 2014 #11
Cha Jan 2014 #8
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2014 #10
pnwmom Jan 2014 #12
El_Johns Jan 2014 #13

Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Mon Jan 13, 2014, 09:34 PM

1. K&R

Good work digging up all this info, she definitely looks like someone who needs to be asked questions.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Mon Jan 13, 2014, 09:34 PM

2. Thanks. Was wondering where she was in all this

A long-time "fixer" who no doubt knows EVERYTHING.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Mon Jan 13, 2014, 09:39 PM

3. As another asshole once said


"Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job"

The suspense is killing me if Crisco is going to survive all of this.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Mon Jan 13, 2014, 09:42 PM

4. More:

(A December article)

Some 'Stronger Than the Storm' ad material released

Details on tourism contract still awaited


The six-member committee was headed by Michele Brown, who is CEO of the state Economic Development Authority at a salary of $225,000. Brown is a former federal prosecutor in New Jersey but resigned that post in 2009 amid controversy over a loan of $46,000 from Christie. The loan was given in 2007 when Christie was a U.S. attorney and she was a subordinate in his office. Christie’s failure to disclose the loan became an issue in his first gubernatorial campaign. The loan has since been repaid.

The contract was awarded to MWW and a subcontractor, yielding $4.7 million to the firms for employee compensation and markups to run the advertising campaign — $2.2 million more than what the runner-up bidder proposed charging. MWW pitched putting the governor in the ads; the runner-up did not.

The state has provided 179 pages of documents in response to the Press’ records request but many of the pages lack detail or duplicate what was already given to the newspaper after previous requests.

Christine Baker, a state deputy attorney general, in a letter to lawyers representing the Asbury Park Press, said the state plans to provide more material by Friday and completely fulfill the request by Jan. 17.

- more -


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Response to ProSense (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 13, 2014, 09:46 PM

5. Thanks, ProSense! n/t

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Mon Jan 13, 2014, 09:49 PM

6. Very interesting!

The list of people in Christie's inner circle who need to be investigated is growing exponentially. The bridge scandal, the ad scandal might just be the tip of the iceberg if and when all the facts come out.

Excellent OP, thanks for posting this.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 13, 2014, 09:54 PM

7. I know, huh.. "..inner circle who need to be investigated is growning Exponentially"!

We need one of those handy graphics like a family tree with Christy in the Center.

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Response to Cha (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 13, 2014, 09:59 PM

9. Yep, soon a graphic like that would need to be panoramic in order to see all the...

lines emanating to and from Christie, lol.

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Response to Spazito (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 14, 2014, 12:01 AM

11. Right! I see where I wrote "growning" instead of "growing"

in the previous reply. Think I'll leave it because they are most definitely "groaning" exponentially! rofl

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Mon Jan 13, 2014, 09:55 PM

8. K&R will read later! thanks pnwmom

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Mon Jan 13, 2014, 11:36 PM

10. I guess we now know ...


why the Romney campaign passed on Christie.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 14, 2014, 12:08 AM

12. And this is just the tip of the corruption iceberg. n/t

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2014, 02:47 AM

13. K&R. But there's NO MONEY for teachers, public workers, etc....


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