What to Know
- Christie has been unapologetic about photos snapped by NJ.com that showed him at the state governor's residence at Island Beach State Park
- People in New Jersey and beyond seized on what many saw as a let-them-eat-cake gesture by the state's chief executive
- The ethics complaint is seeking fines and sanctions to be imposed against the lame-duck governor
A New Jersey citizen has filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Chris Christie for his infamous trip to the beach during the state government shutdown over the holiday weekend.
Mario M. Blanch, an attorney in West New York, filed the complaint Wednesday, stating that Christie used his position to obtain special benefits for himself and his family when they laid out at Island Beach State Park Sunday while the public was turned away.
"The governor and his family hold no special privileges over the residents and citizens of the state of New Jersey," the complaint states, according to The Jersey Journal. "By using the park, 'in direct contravention to the shutdown,' [Christie] utilized his position as governor... to obtain benefits for himself and his family that members of the general public could not enjoy for themselves."
State facilities started shutting down July 1 when the state legislature could not reach a budget agreement. Lawmakers finally passed the $34.7 billion budget on July 3, and after Christie signed it, state facilities were reopened the next day.
Blanch requested the ethics committee impose fines and sanctions on Christie, and mandate that he pay restitution in an amount of the fair market value of renting a private beach in New Jersey over the July Fourth weekend.
A spokesman for the governor's office didn't respond to The Jersey Journal's request for comment.
Christie has sounded an unapologetic tone over the aerial photos snapped by NJ.com that showed him at the state governor's residence at Island Beach State Park.
"If they had flown that plane over that beach and I was sitting next to a 25-year-old blonde in that beach chair next to me that's a story," he said. "I wasn't sitting next to a 25-year-old blonde. I was sitting next to my wife of 31 years."
People in New Jersey and beyond seized on what many saw as a let-them-eat-cake gesture by the state's chief executive.
"Taxpayers can't use the parks and other public sites they pay for, but he and his family can hang out at a beach that no one else can use?" asked Mary Jackson, a Freehold resident. "Doesn't he realize how that looks, how people will see it as a slap in the face?"
The photos are part of a bruising finale for the term-limited governor, who had been a regular on late-night TV and a Republican superstar after Superstorm Sandy hammered his state in 2012.
What talent! A "topical" sand sculpture on the Seaside Heights beach today. (Photo: Dave Bobal) pic.twitter.com/RGrRjpi4D9— JSHN (@JSHurricaneNews) July 4, 2017