Bret D. Schundler, New Jersey education commissioner, who was recently fired, claimed that Gov. Chris Christie had defamed him. Moreover, he charged that Mr. Schundler’s role in an episode that cost a state $400 million federal grant was purposely misstated.
After Mr. Christie, a Republican, claimed that the essence of the story was “don’t lie to the governor,” Mr. Schundler published a written chronology with evidences that supported his version of events. The release of this chronology attracted much attention and caused a public quarrel between former allies.
Mr. Schundler, who was fired on Friday, wrote in his custom essay: “I could accept being fired for that. But I will not accept being defamed by the governor for something he knows I did not do”. He said that after the governor called him a liar, he has no choice but to defend his name.
Mr. Christie considers that “it’s time now to move on,” but the Democrats have made use of the administration’s mistakes and promised to hold hearings that could prolong the damage. In a few days this event had a negative influence for Mr. Christie. Firstly, it became known that New Jersey’s application missed one simple piece of data, namely state’s 2008-9 spending on education. The number would have raised the state’s score so that it could be possible to win the $400 million.
On Aug. 25, Mr. Christie made a verbal attack on federal officials claiming that they do not credit the state for the information. Namely, he claimed that Mr. Schundler had given the numbers to federal officials to review the application only orally. The second chagrin came when federal officials released a video showing that Mr. Schundler and his staff could not answer the questions concerning the missing data at one session. The final embarrassment came when the governor fired the commissioner. Mr. Schundler said that he had told Mr. Christie many times that the federal officials did not get the numbers, but the governor used that claim to deflect blame onto the Obama administration.
Mr. Schundler said not once that he was discussing the dispute with the governor only because his reputation and, of course, his employment prospects were at risk. On Wednesday, Mr. Schundler said he would talk about the dispute only in his written account: “I am sick of this thing.”