Gov. Chris Christie compared himself to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon this weekend in a conversation with Yahoo! News’ Matt Bai in the wake of the “Bridgegate” scandal.
Earlier this month, emails were published that showed that a Christie aide knew about a controversial plan to close two traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September.
Christie held a long press conference where he apologized saying he was “embarrassed and humiliated.” He also fired Bridget Anne Kelly, the deputy chief of staff, who was at the center of those email discussions with Port Authority officials.
Christie compared the incident in his state of New Jersey to the “London Whale” trade at JPMorgan:
You couldn’t have not known what was happening. The central figure, the former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, was one of your own most senior aides.
“In town hall meetings all the time, and I know you’ve been to some of them, I often have said to members of the public, when they bring up an issue that I wasn’t aware of — you know, I can’t get my check for this or I can’t get a permit for that — I say, you know what one of the scariest things about being governor is? The fact that every day, 65,000 people have letterhead with my name on it and I don’t know what they’re doing all day.
Now I understand that people say well, this isn’t one of the 65,000 — this is someone in your office. You know, the fact is, as I said at the press conference, Matt, if someone doesn’t tell you the truth, there is often very little you can do in reaction to that. So, no, anyone who would say that has no appreciation for what it’s like to be governor or, frankly, chief executive of any kind of major organisation.
That’s like saying any of these folks who’ve been in trouble in the banking industry, like the JPMorgan Chase thing — how could Jamie Dimon not have known about a trade that was being put on by a trader in London? Well, you know, I think it’s fairly safe to say that Jamie Dimon didn’t know that a trade was being put on, and that when people lied about it, he didn’t know they were lying. So it happens. It’s awful when it does. Because it’s a breach of trust.
So I think that’s a ridiculous criticism and kind of an ignorant one.
Under Dimon’s leadership, JPMorgan suffered a multi-billion trading loss in the London chief investment office due to derivatives trades (a.k.a the “London Whale”).
Dimon dismissed early media reports about a trader known as the “London Whale” calling it a “tempest in a teapot.” Eventually, though, it was revealed that the bank suffered a $US2 billion trading loss. That number changed to $5.8 billion.
As a result, Dimon was grilled on Capitol Hill before Senate and House committees. He said that “senior management and myself should have better monitored the CIO office.”