Mark Sokolich

Mark J. Sokolich (born 1963) is an American attorney and politician. He serves as the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey. He is also the managing partner of the law firm that he founded. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Mark Sokolich
Mayor of Fort Lee
Assumed office
January 7, 2008
Preceded byJack Alter
Personal details
Mark J. Sokolich

1963 (age 55–56)
Fort Lee, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materRutgers University; Seton Hall University
ProfessionAttorney and politician

Early life

Sokolich is of Croatian (possibly from the Istrian region), descent and was raised in Fort Lee. His father died when he was 12 years old, and his mother died the following year.[1]

Sokolich graduated from Fort Lee High School. He played basketball and baseball in high school, and was named All-State in basketball and All-County in baseball. Though universities offered him scholarships to play basketball, he broke his ankle during his senior year of high school, and the scholarship offers were withdrawn. Sokolich enrolled at Rutgers University, and he walked on to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights men's basketball team.[2] He earned his bachelor's degree from Rutgers. Sokolich earned a juris doctor from Seton Hall University School of Law,[1] which he attended at the same time as Chris Christie.[3]


Sokolich worked in a few law firms, before forming his own, Sokolich & Macri, in 1998, of which he serves as the managing partner.[1] He is also a director of Bancorp of New Jersey, Inc.[4]

Sokolich served on the Fort Lee City Council for four years before being elected mayor in 2007.[1] Sokolich replaced incumbent mayor Jack Alter as the Democratic candidate after Alter's sudden death.[5] Sokolich was re-elected in 2011.[6]

When Chris Christie ran for re-election in 2013, Sokolich did not endorse him, despite many other Democrats across the state doing so. Evidence strongly indicates that this lack of an endorsement led Christie's deputy chief of staff to direct a Christie appointee on the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to reallocate two of the customary three toll lanes from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge, causing massive gridlock.[7] The scandal, which was revealed after Christie won the election, helped cause a significant drop in Christie's popularity.


  1. ^ a b c d Sarnoff, David. "A Conversation with Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich". Fort Lee Patch. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  2. ^ The Auditor (February 23, 2014). "Fort Lee's mayor lived a past life on Rutgers' basketball court: The Auditor". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  3. ^ Fleisher, Lisa (January 8, 2014). "Fort Lee's Mayor in Bridge Spotlight". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  4. ^ "Mark Sokolich". Forbes. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  5. ^ Sico, Christina (October 31, 2007). "Mark Sokolich To Take On Judith Fisher In Fort Lee Mayoral Race". NY1. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  6. ^ Wander, Erik. "Local Incumbents Reelected, Veterans Day Ceremony Top Fort Lee News". Fort Lee Patch. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Giambusso, David (January 8, 2014). "Fort Lee Mayor says he fears further retribution in wake of GWB lane closure scandal". Retrieved January 9, 2014.
Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Alter
Mayor of Fort Lee
January 7, 2008 – present
Succeeded by
Bill Baroni

William E. Baroni Jr. (born December 10, 1971) is an American Republican Party politician and law professor. He represented the 14th legislative district in the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly. In 2010, he was named by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to serve as the Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.He resigned from his position at the Port Authority on December 12, 2013, during the inquiry into the Fort Lee lane closure controversy. On November 4, 2016, Baroni was convicted on seven counts of conspiracy and wire fraud in relation to his involvement. On March 29, 2017 Baroni was sentenced to two years of imprisonment and 500 hours of community service. The sentence was later reduced to 18 months.

Bridget Anne Kelly

Bridget Anne Kelly is the former Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie.

Kelly, a New Jersey native, grew up in Ramsey and graduated from Immaculate Heart Academy in 1990. She graduated from Mount St. Mary's University in 1994 with a bachelor of arts degree in political science.

Chris Christie

Christopher James Christie (born September 6, 1962) is an American politician, former federal prosecutor, and political commentator who served as the 55th Governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018.

Christie was born in Newark, New Jersey and raised in Livingston, New Jersey. After graduating in 1984 from the University of Delaware, he earned a J.D. at Seton Hall University School of Law. A Republican, Christie was elected county freeholder (legislator) for Morris County, New Jersey, serving from 1995 to 1998. By 2002, he had campaigned for Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush; the latter appointed him U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, a position he held from 2002 to 2008.

Christie won the 2009 Republican primary for Governor of New Jersey and defeated Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine in the general election. In his first term, he was credited with cutting spending, capping property tax growth, and engaging in recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy. He was re-elected by a wide margin in 2013. During his second term as governor, Christie's standing was damaged by the Fort Lee lane closure scandal. After that time, he ranked among the least popular governors in the United States.

Christie chaired the Republican Governors Association during the 2014 election cycle. On June 30, 2015, he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election. He suspended his candidacy on February 10, 2016. Later, he endorsed eventual winner Donald Trump and was named head of Trump's transition planning team. Christie left office in 2018 at the conclusion of his second term as Governor of New Jersey.

David Wildstein

David Wildstein (born September 1961) is an American businessman, Republican Party politician, political blogger, and the founder of the New Jersey political news website Politicker Network. A former mayor of Livingston, New Jersey, he served as a senior official in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey during the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie until 2013, when Wildstein resigned in the midst of a scandal involving traffic lanes closures. On May 1, 2015 he pleaded guilty to two federal felony counts of conspiracy as part of a plea agreement. Wildstein was sentenced in July 2017 without incarceration. He was sentenced to three years' probation and 500 hours of community service. He was also fined $10,000 and prohibited from seeking or accepting employment with any government agency.

Fort Lee, New Jersey

Fort Lee is a borough at the eastern border of Bergen County, New Jersey, United States, situated on the Hudson Waterfront atop the Hudson Palisades.

As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 35,345, reflecting a decline of 116 (−0.3%) from the 35,461 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 3,464 (+10.8%) from the 31,997 counted in the 1990 Census.Fort Lee is named for the site of an American Revolutionary War military encampment, At the turn the 20th century it became the birthplace of the American film industry. In 1931 the borough became the western terminus of the George Washington Bridge, which crosses the Hudson River and connects to the borough of Manhattan borough in New York City. Fort Lee's population and housing density increased considerably during the 1960s and 1970s with the construction of highrise apartment buildings.

Fort Lee High School

Fort Lee High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school that serves students in ninth through twelfth grade, located in Fort Lee, in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States, operating as the lone secondary school of the Fort Lee School District. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1931.As of the 2015-16 school year, the school had an enrollment of 940 students and 70.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.4:1. There were 149 students (15.9% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 60 (6.4% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.

Fort Lee lane closure scandal

The Fort Lee lane closure scandal, also known as the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal or Bridgegate, is a U.S. political scandal in which a staff member and political appointees of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, colluded to create traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey, by closing lanes at the main toll plaza for the upper level of the George Washington Bridge.The problems began on Monday, September 9, 2013, when two of three toll lanes for a local street entrance were closed during morning rush hour. Local officials, emergency services, and the public were not notified of the lane closures, which Fort Lee declared a threat to public safety. The resulting back-ups and gridlock on local streets ended only when the two lanes were reopened on Friday, September 13, 2013, by an order from Port Authority Executive Director and Democrat from New York, Patrick Foye. He said that the "hasty and ill-informed decision" could have endangered lives and violated federal and state laws.It was later suggested that the lanes had been closed intentionally to cause the massive traffic problem for political reasons, and especially theorized that they were a retributive attack against Fort Lee's Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat who had not supported Christie as a candidate in the 2013 New Jersey gubernatorial election. The ensuing investigations centered on several of Christie's appointees and staff, including David Wildstein, who ordered the lanes closed, and Bill Baroni, who had told the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee that the closures were for a traffic study.The United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey Paul J. Fishman launched a federal investigation, resulting in a sweeping nine-count indictment against Bridget Anne Kelly, the deputy chief of staff, Baroni and Wildstein. Wildstein entered a guilty plea, and testified against Baroni and Kelly, who were found guilty on all counts in November 2016. David Samson pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy in July 2016, for acts unrelated to the lane closures but unearthed by the federal Bridgegate investigation.Governor Chris Christie's political standing was badly damaged by the scandal, and his approval ratings from the scandal onward only continued to fall. Once considered a leading contender for the 2016 Republican nomination for President, Christie dropped out of the presidential race after a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary. The scandal was widely cited as a major factor in the early demise of Christie's 2016 presidential ambitions. Christie called Bridgegate "a factor" in why he was bypassed by Donald Trump as the vice presidential nominee. In September 2016, both the prosecution and the defense in the trial of two of Christie's former aides argued that Christie knew of his close associates' involvement in a plan to shut down lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge as it was happening, and that the closings were to punish Sokolich for declining to support Christie's reelection bid. This was the first time Christie had been officially accused of contemporaneous knowledge of the plot.The defendants in the case appealed their convictions. In June 2019, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari and will hear the case. One defendant, already serving his prison term, asked for immediate release.

Governorship of Chris Christie

Chris Christie took office as the 55th Governor of New Jersey on January 19, 2010, and began his second term on January 21, 2014, and left office on January 16, 2018.

Larry Storch

Lawrence Samuel Storch (born January 8, 1923) is an American actor, voice actor, and comedian, best known for his comic television roles, including voice-over work for cartoon shows, such as Mr. Whoopee on Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, and his live-action role of the bumbling Corporal Randolph Agarn on F Troop.

List of Croatian Americans

This is a list of notable Croatian Americans, including both original immigrants who obtained American citizenship and their American descendants.

To be included in this list, the person must have a Wikipedia article showing they are Croatian American or must have references showing they are Croatian American and are notable.

List of Rutgers University people

This is an enumeration of notable people affiliated with Rutgers University, including graduates of the undergraduate and graduate and professional programs at all three campuses, former students who did not graduate or receive their degree, presidents of the university, current and former professors, as well as members of the board of trustees and board of governors, and coaches affiliated with the university's athletic program. Also included are characters in works of fiction (books, films, television shows, et cetera) who have been mentioned or were depicted as having an affiliation with Rutgers, either as a student, alumnus, or member of the faculty.

Some noted alumni and faculty may be also listed in the main Rutgers University article or in some of the affiliated articles. Individuals are sorted by category and alphabetized within each category. Default campus for listings is the New Brunswick campus, the systems' largest campus, with Camden and Newark campus affiliations noted in parenthesis.

List of people involved in the Fort Lee lane closure scandal

The Fort Lee lane closure scandal, also known as the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal or Bridgegate, is a political scandal in the United States, involving the closure of access to toll plazas on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013 to deliberately create traffic congestion in Fort Lee, New Jersey, which would embarrass or anger Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, who had not supported New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, politically.Three people were eventually charged by Paul J. Fishman, the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. A Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) official, David Wildstein, pleaded guilty in the case and is cooperating with prosecutors. Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the PANYNJ, and Bridget Anne Kelly, former deputy chief of staff to Governor Christie, were charged with conspiracy and fraud and entered pleas of not guilty.Fishman also compiled a list of unindicted co-conspirators, parties who were aware of the closures at the time they took place or involved in a possible cover-up but who were not charged, which was not made public. The release of the names of so-called co-conspirators has been a matter of controversy in and of itself. and was taken up by Judge Susan Davis Wigenton of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. While the names have been made available to attorneys, they have not been made public pending proceedings. Another list, of others "who may have had knowledge of the conspiracy or took actions that happened to further its goals" but did not join the conspiracy, came to light in judicial proceedings in March 2016. Despite the release of some documents after the trial the names of unindicted co-conspirators were not released.In testimony given in September 2016, Wildstein said that among those who knew of the lane closures either before or while they were taking place or were made aware of attempts at a cover-up were Governor Christie, political advisors Bill Stepien and Michael DuHaime, and PANYNJ staff David Samson, Pat Schuber, and Philip Kwon.

Seton Hall University School of Law

Seton Hall University School of Law (also known as Seton Hall Law School) is the law school of Seton Hall University. Located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, Seton Hall Law is one of two law schools in the state of New Jersey. The school confers three law degrees: Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.), and Master of Science in Jurisprudence. The law school is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since its founding in 1951.

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