More on Christie’s “Ongoing Financial Relationship” with Michele Brown

picture-123.thumbnail.pngThis will just be a hodgepodge of details to follow up on this story, the news that former NJ US Attorney and current GOP candidate for Governor, Chris Christie gave one of his top AUSAs a mortgage loan for $46,000.

Christie Has Made Other Loans

Check out the original NJN report (click on Christie Mortgage Loan) on this–around the 5:48 mark. When asked whether he has ever given a loan like this in the past, he admits (after making a crazy-stupid face) he has given out such loans, though never as a mortgage.

I’d be really curious who and what those loans were about. But looking through his disclosure forms, I don’t see any hint of them, unless they involved the Christie Family Charitable Foundation, which he had until he became US Attorney (but in which he said he had no management control).

Now he did say he and his wife had give money, so maybe that’s where this money came from. But don’t you think Mr. Transparency ought to tell us about all the funky loans he has given in the last little while?

Michele Brown Was in the Middle of the Zimmer DPA

Meanwhile, remember the ginormous sweetheart deal that Chris Christie got his former boss, John Ashcroft, into? Where Ashcroft and his buddies made up to $52 million monitoring a deferred prosecution agreement of a medical device firm? And remember how, contrary to Christie’s claim that no one ever complained about those exorbitant fees, Zimmer’s lawyers were going crazy when they discovered that not only was Ashcroft basically charging them unlimited amounts, but was also pressuring them on further legal issues that seemed rather overblown?

Well, the first person they addressed their "going crazy" emails to was Michele Brown (and all the subsequent emails were cc’ed to her).


I believe you and Chris are in Warsaw already. I wanted to alert you to a potential issue with the Zimmer Monitor. On Friday evening, Zimmer received a proposed fee agreement from the Ashcroft Group. Zimmer was told the agreement needed to be in place by Tuesday morning.

I have to tell you I was shocked by the proposed fee agreement.

Brown responds on Tuesday morning (that is, when Ashcroft’s company was demanding a response) and says:

Rick–Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’ll discuss it with Chris so we’re prepared to address it at the appropriate time.

The email thread goes on as Ashcroft’s people get crankier and cranker about not getting paid and as Christie starts dangling other purported violations to add to the pressure to sign the fee agreement.

In what is surely just one of those remarkable coincidences, the last email in the chain submitted to HJC was written on October 22, 2007–the day Brown finalized her loan from Christie.

I’m not suggesting it is surprising that Brown was in the midst of those negotiations. As Christie’s Executive Assistant and Counselor at the time, it seems normal for her to be involved in the things that he is directly involved with–as he was with all the DPAs. Nor am I suggesting anything untoward about the coincidence of the Zimmer negotiations and Brown’s own loan. But it is pretty smarmy that at the same time Christie was insisting he was too busy to deal with Zimmer’s $52 million problem, he was negotiating the loan with Brown. (And their apparent trip to Zimmer’s Warsaw, IN HQ together a week earlier may have given them the opportunity to negotiate the loan discreetly.) 

Michele Brown’s Husband Used to Work in Medical Device Consulting

Here I’m just going to lift Citizen92’s work on Michele Brown’s husband, Michael Allen. 

Michael E. Allen’s name appears on several of the online mortgage documents along with Michele Brown on the Morris County documents system.

As for the tie for the consulting business:

An (apparently outdated) online Dunn and Bradstreet provides the business listing, showing the residential Tal[****] address (which is Mr. Allen’s and Ms. Brown’s home:…..MENDHAM-NJ

Further Googling (the phone # in that profie, (973) 616-1400, for example) shows us that Allen Evans Group apparently changed its name and place of business to just Evans Group(and also reveals the website):…..-page.html

The archived website for Evans Group was first published in April 2001. It makes no reference of an Allen.

The IRS lien image recorded in Morris County records seems to hint that the finding dates back to 2000. It lists the Tal[****] St address as the place of business.

This is what I have so far. Looks to me like Allen was formally part of the business up until 2000-ish financial difficulties with the IRS. The company then moved to a nearby town, and eliminated Allen’s name from the marquee. As I pointed out earlier, curiously, even in the post-April 2001 reconstituted business, there is no named entity “Evans” among the staff either.

That’s what I’ve got so far. Right now I can associate Allen with the business as a founder, but don’t have anything that shows him as being formally involved post-2000. But he does seem to have a lot of debts from whatever he was doing…

The reason this is interesting is because Allen’s company (from which he may have already severed ties) was involved in the Pharma and Medical Device industries. Again, that’s not surprising. This is NJ, and NJ is Pharma. The only reason that’s interesting is because so many of Christie’s DPAs involve Medical Device companies and his one big pharma DPA–with Bristol-Myers Squibb–was a client.

Again, all of that is not all that surprising, given NJ’s industrial base. But it does make for some interesting data points.

46 replies
  1. dawgzy says:

    Ashcroft hush money? Chrisstie’s reward for obstructting justicee? Maybe there are other dots that can be connected here, but there’s no such thing aas coincidence in the GWB admin playbook. I’d guess that we’ll see similar tropes in other districts where US atty’s played ball with Karl. Any guesses?

    • emptywheel says:

      Not too much there, I don’t think: looks like a big tax deduction factory to benefit first responders and Catholic entities (though not, predictably, Catholic Charities, as far as I can see).

      Mary Pat takes over Christie’s position when he becomes USA.

      And am I right that it just started in 2001?

      • Mary says:

        Todd’s the manager – his alleged improper trades were in the 1999-2003 time frame and he’s the one dumping most of the money into the foundation.

        I know lhp thinks highly of Kelly, but the ick factor of Todd having no criminal charges followed by the Kelly def pros monitoring no-bid appointment from Chris is pretty blech.

      • Boston1775 says:

        I thought I saw a lot of Catholic charities.

        Maybe it’s not important, but I thought there were plenty.

        And maybe this is all normal.

        • Citizen92 says:

          Why did St. Barnabus get so much, year after year. Christie’s office prosecuted them for Medicare fraud in 2005, ending with a $265M settlement with the USG “biggest ever.” Christine reportedly recused himself.

  2. maryo2 says:

    Did you know that NJ redraws their legislative districts every ten years? This sounds like Rove’s cup of tea.

    “Every 10 years, the boundaries of those districts are redrawn to make them equal in population after the Census….The present legislative district map was adopted in 2001 by an 11-member redistricting commission over the objections of the Republicans…”…..ng_di.html

  3. maryo2 says:

    NJ’s Republican party was in majority in 2001 when the redraw took place and lost the majority. That had to strike Rove as unfair.

    “Republican leaders are smarting over the redistricting. In many states, the party in control gets its way. But New Jersey’s Constitution provides for a state apportionment commission of five Democrats, five Republicans and a nonpartisan member appointed by the chief justice of the State Supreme Court and empowered to break tie votes. That 11th member sided with the Democrats in the recent redistricting.” (from same article)

    My thought is that Christie’s name did not get on the USAs to-be-fired list, so what did he do to keep his name off it? And why would he expect Rove to help him in a gubernatorial run?

    • maryo2 says:

      Perhaps it was Christie’s prosecution of Hemant Lakhani in April 2005 (wiki his name for more) and not voter fraud related. See April 2005 in Torture Timeline for how this fits. wiki says:

      “In a 2006 article in The Nation, Christopher Hayes wrote

      In August 2003, to cite just one example, the New York dailies breathlessly reported what one US official called an “incredible triumph in the war against terrorism,” the arrest of Hemant Lakhani, a supposed terrorist mastermind caught red-handed attempting to acquire a surface-to-air missile. Only later did the government admit that the “plot” consisted of an FBI informant begging Lakhani to find him a missile, while a Russian intelligence officer called up Lakhani and offered to sell him one.

  4. Mary says:

    OT – and outta state – but this article:…..UR20090817

    indicates that now that Schumer’s pick, Preet Bharara, is in as SDNY USA, he’s promoted the prosecutor who handled the Spitzer prostitution ring case.

    Boyd Johnson, who handled a probe of a prostitution ring used by former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, was named deputy U.S. attorney, the office’s No. 2 official.

  5. fatster says:

    Hope this is not a dupe.

    Nowwwww It’s Getting Interesting
    08.18.09 — 5:39PM
    By Josh Marshall

    “We’ve still got the on-going questions about whether NJ Gov candidate Chris Christie pushed political prosecutions as US Attorney to keep on Karl Rove’s good side and pave the way for his run for governor. Now comes word that the hold-over acting US Attorney who took for Christie (a Bush era appointee for the ‘acting’ slot) is himself now facing an internal investigation into whether he politicized a recent corruption investigation to aide Christie’s campaign and hurt Gov. Corzine.

    “Late Update: A further detail. According to the notification at the time of his appointment, Marra, the Acting US Attorney, is actually a registered Democrat. He was, however, Christie’s top aide since 2002.”


  6. Citizen92 says:

    Counselor, U.S. Attorneys Office
    Newark, New Jersey

    PRACTICE-AREAS: Criminal Law.
    BAR ADMISSIONS: 1988, California (Not Admitted in New Jersey)
    LAW-SCHOOL: Georgetown University (J.D.)
    COLLEGE: Drew University (B.A.)
    BORN: 1957

  7. Teddy Partridge says:

    When did Michele Brown and Chris Christie start sleeping together? When did they end their affair? Did they restart it? What’s the related timeline to the “loan” and why doesn’t anyone’s tax filing show the “loan?”

  8. LabDancer says:

    Great visuals on the link to NJN, ff; one begins to grasp one reason why Christie has enjoyed the lead in support from Gardenias to date: he looks awfully like he recently ate President Taft.

  9. FormerFed says:

    When I was an active fed instead of a FormerFed, I think I remember statutes and/or regulations that prohibited any financial transactions between a superior and his/her employees. If all this happened while he was an USA, then it sounds to me like he broke the law.

  10. maryo2 says:

    Did Mary Pat Christie (Mrs. Christ) know about the loan? If he was hiding it from her, then he may have not wanted it on their tax forms.

    I am zooming in but not sure if I see a wedding ring on Michele Brown’s finger.

  11. Jkat says:

    i think it’s time for a complete roll-over in the USA’s … shitcan all the hold-overs .. a complete house cleaning .. and that goes double for the DOJ …

    clean sweep with a new broom .. enough …

    • hackworth1 says:

      IIRC, all old USA’s from a previous admin are typically fired and replaced by the new admin. Dubya Bush had fired all of Clinton’s USA’s and replaced them with Republicans.

      When some of these Dubya Republican USA’s (like Iglesias)balked at Karl Rove’s instructions that they go after all Democrats and excuse all Republicans – that’s when Rove decided to go after them – these USA’s were not Democrats. They were Republicans who were not Loyal Bushies.

      If I understand correctly, it is Obama’s duty to clean house and install all his own USA’s.

      If it is true that Obama has this option at his disposal and he chooses (for the sake of bipartisanship) to retain any of the stinky Dubya Liberty U Attorneys, Obama is a fool.

      • FromCt says:

        I-t i-s w-e-l-l p-a-s-t t-i-m-e t-o d-e-m-a-n-d
        i-m-p-e-a-c-h-m-e-n-t i-n-v-e-s-t-i-g-a-t-i-o-n o-f b-i-p-a-r-t-s-a-n b-u-s-h-c-r-i-m-e-s p-r-o-t-e-c-t-o-r O-b-a-m-a t-o t-h-e p-o-i-n-t t-h-a-t h-e i-s c-o-m-p-l-i-c-i-t.

  12. fatster says:

    Report: Acting U.S. Attorney Facing Ethics Investigation For Potentially Helping Christie
    By Eric Kleefeld – August 18, 2009, 5:15PM

    “Here’s yet another twist in the New Jersey gubernatorial election: The Associated Press reports that Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra — who is the successor to now-Republican nominee Chris Christie — is facing an internal investigation for possibly politicizing the recent corruption investigation, in order to benefit Christie’s campaign.”


  13. Bluetoe2 says:

    March on Washington for healthcare reform on Sept. 13th. Pass it along. The people united cannot be defeated.

  14. fatster says:

    O/T, or Holder and the GOP emails. What’s up with this?

    Holder’s Former Law Firm Brags About Its GOP Ties
    TUESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2009

    “We recently learned that Attorney General Eric Holder’s old law firm has alarmingly close ties to the Republican National Committee (RNC) and key figures from the George W. Bush administration.

    “Now we learn that the firm, Covington & Burling, actually brags on its Web site about its role in helping protect Karl Rove’s e-mails that were stored on RNC servers.”


    • bmaz says:

      Wow, that is some scintillating legal research skilz they got going there; why I bet they must have spent tens of minutes on a web browser to find that double naught triple super secret classified information. Newsflash for Dana Jill Simpson and that crack research team, white collar criminal lawyers represent, you know, white collar criminals.

  15. Citizen92 says:

    Two more things I don’t get.

    When Michele Brown worked for Chris Christie, she was listed as “Counsel to the US Attorney.” Yet looking at today’s NJ office, as well as US Attorneys offices around the US, I don’t see any “Counsel(s) to the US Attorney” positions anywhere.

    Is this a position that was made up by Christie to keep her in the job.

    Second question. It would appear as though Ms. Brown was only licensed to practice law in California for some period of time since that was the only place she took the bar. She was not licensed to practice in NJ as she didn’t belong to the NJ bar. What on earth is the US Attorneys office in NJ doing… hiring someone who cannot go to court to practice law in NJ> That strikes me as problematic.

    • bmaz says:

      I am not positive about this, but it is my recollection that a member of the US Attorneys office does not have to be a member of the state bar of their jurisdiction so long as they are a licensed member of a bar somewhere and are jumped in to the federal court where they will be appearing. Don’t hold me to that though.

      • posaune says:

        like Fitz having to take the Illinois bar when appointed USAtty for ND IL in 2001? doesn’t seem that would be right.

    • NCDem says:

      That’s the reason she is listed as “counsel” and not a practicing lawyer. It looks like her counseling included more than advising. No offense for those who live in NJ but I would feel like I have to go home every day at lunch to take a shower and wash away the corruption that floats in the air.

      And also to Mary at #8:

      And on the link to Reuters than Mary gave, I find it iteresting that all four promotions that were announced by Schumer’s handpicked appointment as US Attorney were formerly in the narcotics division or international trafficking of drugs. I know it is New York but that appears to be strategic placement of people who can keep their fingers in the dike when the Russian mafia is being questioned. I’ve seen too many ties with Schumer and this group to make me feel comfortable.

      • Citizen92 says:

        I believe that Ms. Brown is now First Assistant US Attorney in the office, essentially the #2 in charge. That is a position common to all US Attorneys’ Offices.

        Presumably to hold this new role she would have needed to pass the NJ Bar, or at least be current in her California Bar membership (which presently shows that she is not current)?

  16. orionATL says:


    “…In what is surely just one of those remarkable coincidences, the last email in the chain submitted to HJC was written on October 22, 2007–the day Brown finalized her loan from Christie. “


    and double hmmm.

    coincidences are, well, miracles of a small sort.

  17. Boston1775 says:

    Can we go over how the Christie Charitable Foundation works?

    From 1/12/01 to 8/7/01 Todd Christie via the EFYS Foundation donated $1,822,091 in cash
    in two payments
    to the Christie Charitable Trust and paid out $1,088,930 to charities.
    (click 2001)

    From 3/30/02 to 8/30/02, Todd Christie donated $450,000 in cash,
    in two payments – Goldman Sachs gave $3,000
    and the CCT paid out $1,283,300
    (click 2002)

    From 10/15/02 to 9/0803, Todd Christie donated $722,430 in cash,
    in three payments ($600,000 on 1/14/03) – Goldman Sachs gave $3,500
    and the CCT paid out $681,130
    (click 2003)

    From10/30/03 to 9/30/04, Todd Christie donated $520,350 in cash,
    (four donations)
    and from 10/8/2003 to 9/14/04 the CCT paid out $485,869
    click 2004

    From 3/3/05 to 9/23/05, Todd Christie donated $122,500 in cash,
    and from 10/6/04 to 9/22/05 the CCT paid out $292,000
    click 2005

    In the 2006 click, there are no specific dates given but in 5 separate payments, the second of which is for $1,000,000, Todd Christie donated $1,135,140 in cash
    and the CCT paid out $589,421

    In the 2007 click, no dates again, 6 separate payments, Todd Christie donated $225,000 in cash
    and the CCT paid out $386,940

    In the 2008 click, no dates, 4 separate payments, Todd Christie donated $320,000 in cash
    Beverly Volaro, no dates, 3 separate payments, donated $145,000 in cash
    and the CCT paid out

    From 1/12/01 through the 10/1/07
    Todd Christie donated $5,092,511 in cash

    Goldman Sachs donated $6,500

    Beverly Valaro donated $145,000

    for a total of $5,244,011 in CASH,

    and the Christie Charitable Trust donated $5,286,640 to various charities.

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