Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Chris Christie settles with Exxon for less than 3¢ on the dollar

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The damages were $8900 million, Christie settled for $250 million: 2.8¢ on the dollar. Really knows how to drive a hard bargain, eh? Amazing negotiating skills.

Benjamin Weiser reports in the NY Times:

A long-fought legal battle to recover $8.9 billion in damages from Exxon Mobil Corporation for the contamination and loss of use of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes, meadows and waters in northern New Jersey has been quietly settled by the state for around $250 million.

The lawsuits, filed by the State Department of Environmental Protection in 2004, had been litigated by the administrations of four New Jersey governors, finally advancing last year to trial. By then, Exxon’s liability was no longer in dispute; the only issue was how much it would pay in damages.

The stakes were high, given the enormous cost the state’s experts had placed on restoring and replacing the resources damaged by decades of oil refining and other petrochemical operations, as well as of the public’s loss of use of the land.

“The scope of the environmental damage resulting from the discharges is as obvious as it is staggering and unprecedented in New Jersey,” the administration of Gov. Chris Christie said in a court brief filed in November.

But a month ago, with a State Superior Court judge believed to be close to a decision on damages, the Christie administration twice petitioned the court to hold off on a ruling because settlement talks were underway. Then, last Friday, the state told the judge that the case had been resolved.

The parties have not announced the deal publicly, and it still must be approved by the judge. But some legal and environmental experts who were told about the agreement asked why New Jersey would suddenly settle a case that it had fought strenuously for more than a decade.

Richard B. Stewart, a New York University law professor and a former head of the Justice Department’s environmental division under President George Bush, noted the “striking disparity between the damages claimed, which have been exhaustively litigated, and the settlement amount,” particularly with a judicial ruling expected soon. Mr. Stewart said that it was hard to assess the agreement without knowing the evidence, but that “it raises questions.”

The documents that made reference to the settlement, which had not been filed publicly, were obtained after a request by The New York Times. They do not reveal the settlement amount; the figure was provided by two people who were told about it, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet public. . .

Continue reading.

The citizens of New Jersey got the opposite of a bargain when they elected Christie: that decision alone cost them $8.65 billion. I think New Jersey could probably have used that money.

Christie portrays himself as a tough guy, but he’s obviously a pushover. A blowhard, yes, but no spine. He left $8,650,000,000 on the table.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 March 2015 at 11:54 am

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