Responding to reports that he failed to disclose a $46,000 loan to high ranking U.S. Attorney staffer and personal friend Michele Brown on his taxes and other required financial disclosure forms, Republican gubernatorial nominee Christopher Christie this afternoon said that he did not include the loan because he did not think of it "as an asset that was giving me income."
Christie said he would amend his 2007 tax return to include the $420 in interest earned that year, and that he would estimate earning $2,400 in interest for 2008. He also said he has been granted permission by the Justice Department to amend his 2007 and 2008 federal employment disclosure forms.
Below is a transcript of Christie's comments from his campaign appearance in Cherry Hill this afternoon, which was provided by the Christie campaign:
I make mistakes, I am human. And I made a mistake by not putting on my disclosure form the loan that Mary Pat and I made to Michele Brown and her husband Mike about 2 years ago. I will just tell you that for me and Mary Part, we made a decision to help some friends who were in a tough financial straight because Mike had lost his job. And I never thought of that as an asset that was giving me income, so when I was putting together my disclosure forms I did not think of it in that way. And that is why it is not there.
So today, I have already signed and filed an amended form for the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. Laying out the specifics that we need to lay out for the loan. By email this afternoon, after I leave here, I will send amendments to my 2007 and 2008 federal disclosure form which I was informed this morning by the Department of Justice is permitted for me to do. And I will send that by email today, once again detailing as the federal form requires. The loan range and the range of interest that was collected. On the way down I spoke to my accountant who is going to prepare an amended tax return for 2007 for 420 dollars in interest collected in 2007 from the loan and will file that by the end of week. My 2008 tax returns have not been filed yet because we are still awaiting more information from some of our investments so we will put the amount of interest that was earned which is approximately 2400 dollars on that tax return and pay the appropriate taxes when we file our returns probably close to October when we get all of our information.
This was something where we were trying to help some friends, we did help some friends through a difficult time but I made a mistake by not putting it on the form. It was certainty nothing that I was trying to conceal or hide because obviously we did everything the way you are supposed to do this. We did a mortgage, we recorded the mortgage through the county court house where the property was located. Michele and Mike have been paying their monthly payments every month since that time. I never conceived it as income, interest income, just never struck me that way, I thought I was getting a loan paid back to me and that’s why we didn’t put it on the forms. It was pure oversight on my part and my fault, my mistake and I apologize for that. Certainly nothing that I was attempting to keep from anybody. So I am glad that we could get it cleared up today.
When I make a mistake, when I misspeak, when I do something wrong I am going to admit it to you and to the people of the state. I’m not perfect, and I’m not going to be. I’m going to make mistakes and when I make mistakes I’m going to own up to them. This was a mistake and an oversight on my part.