At about 4:30 Saturday afternoon, staff from Governor Chris Christie’s office in Trenton New Jersey called the majority offices of both houses of New Jersey’s Legislature. Their message was that a massive structural reform bill for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would be vetoed.

In contrast, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office told no one – not even the sponsors of the legislation – that a joint press release would be coming out later that night from the two governors, announcing rejection of the bill and implementation of their own reforms at the Port Authority.

The same release casually mentioned in the last paragraph that “neither governor is approving the legislation as passed.”

The lead was so buried on this one that my news desk at NY1 asked me twice if I was sure Cuomo was vetoing the bill. Yes, I told them, I am sure. But I could understand the confusion.

In New Jersey the news leaked. Of course it did. I covered news in Jersey for 13 years. I coulda told you it would leak. All credit goes to Shawn Boburg at the Bergen Record who has done some excellent reporting on Bridgegate and the Port Authority.

Boburg (who I do not know personally) was the guy who called former Christie aide Bridget Kelly last January to inform her that he had in his possession of an unfortunately worded email of hers that read: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

The problem with this leaking out the way it did is that it made Cuomo look like he was not in control of his own story. The story instantly became the vetoes, not the other reforms the two governors are implementing – many of which are very good.

For example, asking for the resignations of all the commissioners. (Should have been done a year ago, but whatever). Among those who will be asked to tender his resignation is Pat Foye, the Port Authority executive director and Cuomo appointee who sources say has been providing information to US Attorney Paul Fishman about the Bridgegate scandal.

Fishman has been trying to build a case. Sources say they can likely get many of the players on conspiracy, but there needs to be an underlying crime if people are going to get charged with covering one up.

The two governors are also looking to end the destructive relationship between the executive director and the deputy executive director, which some have argued led to the current crisis. Bill Baroni was the deputy and instead of answering to Foye, (technically his boss ), he answered directly to Christie.

Cuomo and Christie have also proposed selling off the Port Authority’s real estate assets, and many believe there will soon be a fire sale for the largest real estate donors who just wrote huge checks to both governors for their respective re-election campaigns. That would be 2013 for Christie, and this past fall for Cuomo.

In fact, most who have been watching this process closely think the unilateral reforms from the two governors “fall far short.”

Or as Assemblyman James Brennan of Brooklyn puts it: “The governor’s proposed reforms may be positive, but they are not relevant.”

There are no whistleblower protections, for example. No yearly outside audits to be presented to the comptrollers and legislatures of both states. No change that would make failing to REPORT a crime a CRIME itself.

All of those provisions were in the now-vetoed reform legislation.

New Jersey Assemblywoman Valerie Venieri-Huttle called the vetoes “a total rebuke to the ratepayers and the elected members of the legislature from both states.” She also called both Cuomo and Christie – who are not exactly shrinking violets – “spineless” for going this route.

The two bills passed unanimously by more than 600 votes in both states. That is basically unheard of. But there is no chance for an override, because New York is starting a new legislative session in January.

Essentially, to get any kind of reform the process must start over from the very beginning. And that is going to be tough to do.

The two governors likely understand that, which some believe is why the vetoes were announced in the odd manner that they were. Sure, some of the sponsors had their suspicions, as Jesse Mckinley astutely pointed out, especially when Cuomo’s office refused to negotiate or offer any changes to the bill.

But the Saturday night news drop over Chistmas weekend was, well…special. Even for Christie and Cuomo.

Obviously, Christie doesn’t want any more public discussion about him and the Port Authority, which might help explain his desire to veto the bill at the witching hour and abruptly end the conversation.

Christie still harbors presidential ambitions, although his chances are much slimmer now than he seems willing to admit, according to this excellent Op-Ed by Joshua Henne. 

So, now the conversation comes back to Cuomo and his angle. The two governors dined together in New Jersey last week (at Il Villaggio on Route 17, which is not exactly inconspicuous, btw ).

One would assume that during that meal, they made the joint decision to announce these vetoes on the Saturday night over a holiday weekend, as a midnight deadline to take action loomed for Cuomo.

We know Christie, a Republican, helped out Cuomo, a centrist Democrat, in his re-election bid this fall by making three public appearances with him on homeland security issues. Perhaps this was Cuomo’s way of saying “thank you”? We already know that Cuomo and Christie have had an alliance for quite some time.

An honest look back at the Port Authority these last few years reveals that it’s mostly been the New Jersey side that has run roughshod over the rules, and used the place as a patronage pit. New York, curiously, has actually shown a lot less interest in abusing the authority lately.

With the vetoes, Christie seems to think he can turn the page on an ugly chapter in his governorship, and also fulfill his wish to finally get Foye fired for exposing Bridgegate. Cuomo, meanwhile, gets control of his passion project to modernize the New York airports.

It’s really anybody’s guess what these two were thinking and discussing over Italian food in a restaurant known for its proximity to strip clubs.

But perhaps the funniest take on all this comes from Steven Goldstein, founder of Garden State Equality, who wrote on his Facebook page after the vetoes: “The award for the most annoying same-sex couple of the year goes to Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo.”