Bids sought be­fore N.J. project OK’d

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

TREN­TON, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie’s ad­min­is­tra­tion sought to bor­row hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to ren­o­vate New Jersey’s de­te­ri­o­rat­ing State­house four months be­fore the project was au­tho­rized, cut­ting out the public in a process a bi­par­ti­san group of law­mak­ers de­scribe as “rigged,” ac­cord­ing to in­ter­views and doc­u­ments.

The Christie ad­min­is­tra­tion put out a re­quest for pro­pos­als for a fi­nance com­pany to sell bonds to re­ha­bil­i­tate the build­ing in De­cem­ber and se­lected RBC Cap­i­tal Mar­kets in Jan­uary, months be­fore an April meet­ing of a joint leg­isla­tive-ex­ec­u­tive branch com­mit­tee that ap­proved the project, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments ob­tained by The As­so­ci­ated Press through a records re­quest.

The Repub­li­can gov­er­nor said every­thing was done le­gally and has de­fended his han­dling of the project.

“They’re deal­ing with the in­sid­ers be­fore they’re let­ting the vot­ers know,” said Demo­cratic Assem­bly­man John Wisniewski.

Cur­rent and for­mer Trea­sury of­fi­cials say there’s noth­ing un­usual about seek­ing bids on a project be­fore fi­nal project ap­proval.

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