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Port Authority chairman hit with ethics complaint by NJ Working Families Alliance

by Steve Strunsky, The Star-Ledger -- March 03, 2014

A coalition of New Jersey labor and other groups filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission today charging Port Authority Chairman David Samson with using his position at the bi-state agency to benefit developers and other clients of his law firm.

"This complaint alleges that Samson violated the CIL by using his position as Chairman of the Port Authority to influence decisions of the Port Authority Board of Commissioners that would benefit clients of his law firm, Wolff & Samson PC," states the complaint, filed by the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, a Democratic-leaning coalition of consumer, environmental and labor groups.

CIL refers to the state Conflict of Interest Law, which governs the conduct of commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Working Families group asserts. The group maintains that the ethics commission has jurisdiction over Port Authority commissioners.

How many ways has Port Authority chairman David Samson "used his position at the bi-state agency to benefit developers and other clients of his law firm," Wolff & Samson?

-- Let me count the ways ...

Now read about the oh-so-many Conflicting Interests of Port Authority chairman, and the private law firm, which bears his name ... and his 'supplemental income', too ...


How Christie Built the Port Authority ‘Slush Fund’

by Bob and Barbara Dreyfuss, -- March 4, 2014

[...] Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, both of whom have resigned in the wake of the Bridgegate scandal, were key principals in a secret effort by Governor Chris Christie to raise tolls on the Hudson River bridges and tunnels in order to help fund a slush fund that was used to finance major construction projects that benefited the PA’s chairman, David Samson, and his law firm, Wolff & Samson. Among those projects: the raising and reconstruction of the Bayonne Bridge, a $1.2 billion project that benefited Skanska Koch, a construction firm represented by Wolff & Samson.


Vote by Port Authority Chairman David Samson raises ethical question

by Associated Press; -- Jan 28, 2014

Questions are being raised about a high-ranking Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official's support for a $256 million reconstruction of a rundown PATH station in northern Jersey.

The Record reports Port Authority Chairman David Samson voted for the project three months after a builder represented by his law firm [Thomas Berkenkamp]


Wolff & Samson, Firm At Heart Of Christie Controversy, Has Had An Ally In The Governor

by Christina Wilkie and Andrew Perez, -- Jan 30, 2014

Honeywell paid Wolff & Samson $80,000 in lobbying fees in 2010 to lobby agencies like the Economic Development Authority. It paid off. In July of 2010, Gov. Chris Christie (R) pledged to introduce a bill to increase the EDA's Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant program, which gave businesses tax incentives for keeping jobs in the state.

By the time the legislature made the changes at Christie's request, however, Honeywell had its sights set higher. The company now wanted a new kind of tax incentive, eventually dubbed the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program, which would greatly increase the dollar amount that a company could slice off its tax bill for each job it retained.

Honeywell went to Wolff & Samson once more, this time hiring the firm's newly created public affairs arm. And, once again, it paid off, with the legislature approving the bill in January 2012 and Christie signing it into law shortly thereafter.


New Port Authority conflict issue emerges: NJ Transit got $1 lease while a client of David Samson's law firm

by Shawn Boburg, Staff Writer, The Record, -- Feb 19, 2014

Port Authority Chairman David Samson, embroiled in controversies over whether clients of his law firm benefited from his public position, voted to give another client -- NJ Transit -- a $1-per-year lease on a valuable park-and-ride lot in North Bergen, records show.

At the time of the Feb. 9, 2012, vote, Samson’s firm, Wolff & Samson, was getting up to $1.5 million to advise NJ Transit on how to maximize profits from dozens of its commuter lots, including the one in North Bergen, according to public documents.

The 49-year lease for the commuter lot near Route 495 means the Port Authority will collect millions less in revenues -- NJ Transit previously paid the authority $900,000 a year for use of the lot, which is used by hundreds of commuters each day.


Hoboken mayor's allegations cast ex-DCA comissioner in a stressful spotlight

by Susan K. Livio, The Star-Ledger, -- Jan 18, 2014

In an explosive interview on MSNBC today, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said Grifa pressured her to back a waterfront development project in the Hudson County city that the governor wanted. The developer, the Rockefeller Group, was represented by Wolff & Samson, the law firm founded by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman David Samson, who is also the focus of multiple investigations into the George Washington Bridge lane closures.

Zimmer said Grifa helped Hoboken apply for a $75,000 grant through the Port Authority to pay for a study on development. Zimmer, however, did not support those development plans. Grifa kept the pressure on, setting up a conference call with the city’s planning attorney and Samson to push for the development, according to Zimmer, who cited email messages.

And possibly the Grand Poobah of David Samson's "conflicts of interests" -- the one that could have turned out so differently, if Mr Samson's Nemsis didn't stop the plan -- cold in its gridlocked tracks.

The Port Authority's attempt to get Re-bids going on the half-billion dollar project Hudson Lights, quite likely for the benefit of his old boss, Larry Silverstein;  this failed scheme could have filed in, as:

6)  In this list of Conflicts of Interest for Port Authority chairman David Samson:

The Story of one of the Most Valuable Assets ever developed in New Jersey
by jamess -- Mar 02, 2014

Perhaps a simple Ethics Complaint to stop this kind of vested-behavior, really doesn't go far enough, eh?

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