Friday, January 31, 2014

Christie hires $1,000-an-hour lawyer at a discount

Thursday afternoon rush hour on River Road in Teaneck, as seen through a dirty windshield.


Taxpayers are beginning to learn how much they'll be paying for all of the high-priced legal talent flocking to the side of Bridgegate figures, including Governor Christie.

But don't expect The Record of Woodland Park to investigate a legal system with no ceiling on hourly rates that, in effect, restricts access to the courts.

Or discuss a system monitored by judges -- former lawyers -- who often reward the attorney far more than the client who has been injured or is a victim of discrimination.

How much?

Today's front page story on how much attorney Randy Mastro is charging Christie's office is so poorly reported and edited readers don't know his exact hourly rate.

Mastro is charging $650 an hour to represent the Governor's Office in a series of investigations into the George Washington Bridge lane closures in Democratic Fort Lee -- "a discount of more than 40 percent" (A-1 and A-6).

The story never gives Mastro's "normal rate," but says it is more than $1,000 an hour. And that doesn't include such expenses as postage, transcripts and other extras.

I don't know anything about this legal eagle -- or turkey -- but question the worth of a lawyer who charges around $35 for a 2-minute phone conversation with his client.

More lawyers

Another lawyer, Reid Schar, the former federal prosecutor advising the Legislature's probe, is charging $350 an hour, a fee first reported on Thursday by New Jersey Public Radio.

Also mentioned in today's story is Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's deputy chief of staff, who was fired after an e-mail showed she had plotted with the Port Authority:

"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

The Record hasn't reported the hourly rate of her lawyer, Michael Critchley Sr., or whether taxpayers will be footing his considerable bill.

Not so super

Another Page 1 story reports "the economic boost to the region from the Super Bowl figures to be considerably smaller than more rosy estimates" (A-1 and A-6).

But The Record's front page today is wrapped in another "Super Bowl Special," an upbeat, 8-page section designed to distract readers from all the negatives associated with pro football -- from a culture of inebriation to sexual slavery to a concussion crisis.

Sells her soul

Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung gives 2 stars to the misnamed Recovery Room in Westwood, where the burger, topped with bacon, ham, cheese and mayo, is designed to send customers across the street to Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley (BL-16).

Ung doesn't explain why the "sole Veronique" ($19.95) is made with cheaper cod.

The real Riotto?

Today's Hackensack Chronicle reports one of four police officers, who sued the city and then-Police Chief Ken "I Am The Law" Zisa in 2009 and settled for $2 million, has been reinstated as a lieutenant.

The first paragraph identifies him as "Vincent Riotto" and the photo with the story is labeled "Anthony Riotto."


  1. The Record reported that Schar is charging $350/hour on Jan. 17. This is eye on the record is blind.

    1. No. The eye must have been rolling or temporarily closed on Jan. 17.

      But where are the reports on the hourly rates being charged by all of the other heavy hitters?


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