Jersey pols skeptical that punishing Fort Lee mayor was real aim of Christie aides in closing bridge lanes

Councilman Joseph L. Cervieri Jr. said the mayor discussed the possibility of endorsing Christie late last spring or in the early summer and quickly dismissed it.

“The whole conversation was maybe a two-minute conversation,” Cervieri said. That such a minor slight could trigger such a major retaliation months later, as the governor was heading for a landslide victory, is “a possibility — but what is the probability?”

Nor would that be in keeping with the kind of immediate, targeted retribution exacted of another Democratic mayor, Steven Fulop of Jersey City, who said his relations with the Christie administration were abruptly cut off after he declined to endorse the governor in July. That same day, Christie’s aides canceled Fulop’s meetings with administration officials regarding recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy.

Cervieri has his own take, gleaned largely from speculation that he has heard in the news media: Perhaps Weinberg, who had tangled with Christie over judicial nominations, was the target.

Still other conjecture swirls around a billion-dollar redevelopment project that is underway at the foot of the George Washington Bridge.