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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).

Michele,

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:

http://dnb.powerprofiles.com/p…..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 www.evans-grp.com website):

http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms…..-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.

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