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By David Madden

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – A three-judge panel has ruled that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie exceeded his authority when he abolished an independent state housing agency last year.

Christie has tried three times to put the Council on Affordable Housing out of business and comply with court mandates through the Department of Community Affairs. Kevin Walsh with the Cherry Hill based Fair Share Housing Center has been fighting the Governor all along.

“One, through an executive order. The court rejected it. He then tried to get the legislature to do what he wanted. He wouldn’t sign the bill they gave him and they rejected his proposed alternative. And then this is the third way: the reorganization power, which the court found he overstepped his bounds.”

Christie’s spokesman, Mike Drewniak, said the decision “only perpetuates the nightmare New Jersey has endured with the COAH bureaucracy” and insists the administration will appeal to the state Supreme Court.

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