Chris Christie's boss of bosses David Samson, the Chairman down at the NJ Port Authority (PA), seemed to have an overly-keen interest in, as he put it, the NY PA 'trouble-maker' [Patrick Foye] who "rides in on a white horse" -- as he tried to reset the NJ traffic flow, back to normal.
This obscure little known "vested linking" between Samson and an also-ran Redevelopment bidder Silverstein, may provide a necessary explanatory motive, for this Samson-overseen bridge jamming.
by Laura Vecsey, lauravecsey.com -- Jan 16, 2014
It begs the question: Which firms were the losers in this coveted and hard-won development Hudson Lights project? One of the firms that bid on developing the entire 16-acre parcel, which was split into two phases of development, was Silverstein Properties in conjunction with Taubman Centers. Silverstein is the World Trade Center developer. It was Silverstein's bid to develop the entire parcel, including the Tucker piece. But it appears that Tucker wanted to keep its piece and develop it themselves.
Larry Silverstein was a long-term client of David Samson.
Mayor Sokolich was called "an idiot" by one of Christie's key staffers, now fired. Mayor Sokolich has had some fun calling himself "the idiot" who has spearheaded Fort Lee's progressive moves, including this landmark development deal. The level of animosity in this "war" goes far deeper than anything having to do with a failure by Sokolich to endorse Chris Christie's re-election. That alone just is not a plausible reason for the timing and nature of the lane-closure retribution.
As I tried to explain in an earlier post:
Take away that "easy access" to the GW bridge, and you may very well take away the "easy financing" -- financing that the [...] Tucker Development Corporation, was still in the process of securing.Take that "winning bid" out of the picture -- and another "losing bid" just might get another shot it -- at this Half-Billion dollar project. That's a LOT of Interest.
Not that anyone "remembers" being involved in bidding for a Billion Dollar deal like that ... Do they?
by Antoinette Martin, NYTimes.com -- Aug 14, 2009
Previous plans for the site collapsed last year when Town and Country Developers of Westwood conceded that its mixed-use Centuria project was stalled. Half the property was then sold at auction to the Tucker Development Corporation of Chicago.
Two weeks ago, the borough of Fort Lee called for new development proposals for either all or half the site -- and received one from Tucker for its half; one from SJP Residential Properties and the Bergen County developer James Demetrakis for the other; and two proposals for the whole site.
The first of the whole-site proposals was from the World Trade Center developer Silverstein Properties, in conjunction with the high-end fashion mall developer Taubman Centers (owner of the Mall at Short Hills). Their plan is for a regional retail center, with a couple of housing towers situated to take advantage of the up-close view of the bridge, the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline.
“But right now, today, we believe this is an extremely valuable property,” Mr. Goldman added [the eventual winner of half of the project], “suitable to become a dynamic town center that offers every element the borough seeks, from retail, to housing, to hotel, and office.”
"An extremely valuable property" because of its very close proximity to the George Washington Bridge, as Steve Kornacki explained it last week:
by Steve Kornacki, MSNBC.com -- Jan 13, 2014
Speedy access to the George Washington Bridge -- and to those access lanes in particular -- is what made the land particularly valuable, both to developers and potential tenants. A study commissioned by Fort Lee a year earlier had stressed that, once the site was redeveloped, anyone living or working at it would be able to drive to the bridge expeditiously even during rush hour. And in a brochure, the lead developer of the second half of the project -- a development called Hudson Lights -- played up its proximity to the bridge.
If Time is Money, in this case, then long hours sitting in daily traffic jams are the exact antithesis of it.
But when has a little "conflict of interest" ever stopped Chris Christie, when he gets his mind set on something, or someone?
by Eliot Brown, online.WSJ.com -- Oct. 1, 2010
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday nominated as chairman of the Port Authority David Samson, a prominent attorney who for years had as a client World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein, the bi-state agency's most high profile tenant and frequent adversary.The NJ PA Chairman must simply know how to steer through these Billion Dollar Land development Deals ... It's just part of the Job Requirements.
The move opens questions of a conflict, given that the agency, which owns the 16-acre site, has engaged in multiple hard-fought lease negotiations in recent years with Mr. Silverstein who is building up to three towers on the property.
A spokesman for Mr. Christie, Michael Drewniak, said in a statement that the Christie administration is "aware of his prior representation, but it's not something that would prohibit or impede his taking the position."
Nothing to see here people ... now move along ...
Just as soon as the Traffic doesn't clear ...
New Bridge Scandal Emails: Port Authority Official Said Christie Team's Lane Closure "Violates Federal Law"
by Molly Redden, MotherJones.com -- Jan 10, 2014
[...]SO, Chris Christie's boss of bosses David Samson, the Chairman down at the NJ Port Authority (PA), thought that putting an abrupt end to the 4-Day Traffic Jam on the GW Bridge, was "a big mistake" ???
On Thursday, Christie expressed confidence that Samson played no part in causing the Fort Lee traffic disaster, saying, "I am convinced that he had absolutely no knowledge of this, that this was executed at the operational level and never brought to the attention of the [Port Authority] board of commissioners." Yet when Foye ordered the lanes reopened on September 13, David Wildstein, a Christie appointee at the Port Authority official wrote to a Christie staffer, "We are appropriately going nuts. Samson helping us to retaliate."
And another email released on Friday indicates that the Christie crew was worried about Foye. On September 18, Samson wrote Scott Rechler, the vice chair of the Port Authority Board of Commissioners,* that he strongly suspected Foye of "stirring up trouble" by speaking anonymously to a Wall Street Journal reporter about the Fort Lee traffic debacle. He went on: "This is yet another example of a story -- we've seen it before -- where [Foye] distances himself from an issue in the press and rides in on a white horse to save the day. In this case, he's playing in traffic, made a big mistake."
By his responses it is obvious that David Samson, had a "keen interest" in the traffic gridlock surrounding the GW Bridge -- he just just didn't have much interest in "fixing it." That's all.
To which, this one-sided interest in jamming local traffic, someone needs to start asking the NJ PA Chairman WHY? ... or better yet WTF ???
H/T and sincere thanks to dailykos member Hey338Too, who provide me with the intro link, and ask me the question:
Is there any way to know if Samson's...It would seem the answer to that question, is decidedly Yes, yes there is.
... law firm represented any of the bidders?