Seven million ways to get fake: What did David Wildstein do at the Port Authority?
Last night, one of Lawrence’s guests has no trouble explaining. WNYC’s Andrea Bernstein described some of the gentleman’s projects:
BERNSTEIN (2/5/14): I mean, this wasn’t a nothing job. This was a really important position, where he was in charge of doling out billions of dollars for capital projects, much of that in New Jersey. And what we know now is that David Wildstein was taking money and putting them into projects that solved other problems for Chris Christie, lots and lots of money...He was arranging the kinds of mega-projects that advanced Chris Christie’s political fortunes.Asked to elaborate, Bernstein cited several specific “mega-projects” involving the use of Port Authority money for the Bayonne Bridge and the Pulaski Skyway. This took pressure off the New Jersey state budget, she said.
We were quite surprised by Bernstein’s detailed knowledge. One hour before, Rachel Maddow had built her opening segment around a familiar pair of claims:
David Wildstein was paid way too much! And no one knows what he did!
Maddow loves to clown with these themes, as you know if you watch her TV show. We’ll highlight what Maddow said about the amount Wildstein was paid:
MADDOW (2/5/14): The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, every year since 2008, has posted its employee payroll information on their publicly available web site. So just pick the year you want, download the whole payroll and there it is, job by job, name by name, salary by salary. You can sort by the person, you can sort by their department. You can sort by what they get paid.MSNBC can be amusing! Last evening, in the 9 o’clock hour, we learned, for about the ten millionth time, that “nobody seemed to have the vaguest idea what [Wildstein] was really doing.”
This is the employee payroll document of 2013. It shows, as you can see here, Bill Baroni, the deputy executive director who has since resigned his job in the bridge scandal. It also shows Phillip Kwon, Chris Christie`s unsuccessful nominee for Supreme Court in New Jersey who he then installed at the Port Authority as the first deputy general counsel once he didn’t get the court job.
And of course, then there’s David Wildstein, the Director of Interstate Capital Projects, getting paid as you can see there an annual salary of $150,000 plus change.
That’s him on the payroll in 2013. This is the same payroll document from the year before that, from 2012. There he is again making the same, $150,000. The Director of Interstate Capital Projects. Also in 2011, same deal. David Wildstein, $150,000. Same deal back in 2010, there he is.
Here’s the thing, though. If you go back one year further than that, if you go back to 2009, David Wildstein is not there. He’s not listed. That’s because David Wildstein couldn’t get that job at the Port Authority until Chris Christie was sworn in as governor in 2010. So David Wildstein, in the 2009 records, not on the payroll.
And here’s the really interesting part. Before David Wildstein joined the payroll at the Port Authority in 2010, not only was he not there, his job was not there either. There was no job called Director of Interstate Capital Projects. If that job had existed before he was there, where that red arrow is, is where that job title would have been listed in the payroll records which are all public for this agency in New Jersey. If that job existed in 2009 it would be there, but it did not exist before him. And that’s because in order to hire David Wildstein at the Port Authority, once Chris Christie became governor, they had to invent that job for him there.
So they created this job. They invented this job title, the director of interstate capital projects. They assigned the job a $150,000 salary, and then they just put David Wildstein in it. This is a job that was custom-built for him.
The Star Ledger reported in December that that job created for David Wildstein has no job description. Had no job description on file. Look, quote, "in his campaign to transform itself into a model of government transparency, the Port Authority turned over a stack of resumes and job descriptions for employees hired in a salary of $100,000 or more during Governor Chris Christie’s first two years in office.
For most of the 50 names, 50 employees getting paid six figures, most of the 50 names on that list quote "the agency provided both a resume and the positions corresponding job description and requirements." But not in David Wildstein’s case, David Wildstein’s case, no job description, no resume with the paper notes which the paper notes makes it impossible to gauge whether his experience or qualifications actually met the requirements of the job, this job that was invented just for him.
And now today, exactly 60 days after he became the first Chris Christie ally or staffer to resign in this bridge scandal, today, we learn that the Port Authority is eliminating the job that they created for him. They are eliminating the job that he once held. According from the Star Ledger today, in all the vast history of the sprawling bureaucracy known as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, there’s never been a job like it. It came with no actual job description. It had only one occupant. And he didn’t have to submit a resume. Nobody seemed to have the vaguest idea what he was really doing, but he was paid $150,000.
One hour later, Bernstein came on and rattled off chapter and verse.
If you watch Maddow’s show, you know she loves to talk about the large salary Wildstein was paid. Last night, we got so sick of hearing her cite that $150,000 salary that we decided to see if there was any fresh reporting on how much she gets paid.
According to a TV Guide report from last August, Maddow was getting paid $7 million per year at that time. It’s dangerous to pay “journalists” that much, as anyone can see from watching the gong-show Maddow now puts on the air.
At any rate, here’s the start of a report from the Daily Mail, citing TV Guide as its source:
DAILY MAIL (8/20/13): MSNBC's Rachel Maddow makes about $7 million annually, edging out Fox News' Megyn Kelly, who makes about $6 million per year, according to a survey released by TV Guide on Tuesday.For the TV Guide report, click here. We can’t vouch for the accuracy of its figures.
By comparison, the survey found that CBS' Scott Pelley makes $5 million annually and CNN's Chris Cuomo makes about $2.5 million.
All those salaries pale in comparison to Today host Matt Lauer's, however, which was estimated at around $23.5 million.
According to Bernstein, Wildstein was driving some very major projects from his Port Authority post. On TV, a $7 million clown has been rolling her eyes, for weeks, at the shocking amount of scratch this lay-around slacker was paid.
No one can say what he did! But he got paid all that money!
It’s dangerous to pay “journalists” $7 million per year. As you watch Maddow clown and cavort and beg for viewers, you can see why we’ve made that point down through these many long years.