Skip to main content

The NY/NJ Port Authority is hearing the protestors loud and clear. So much so, they'd decided to "re-examine the lease agreement" -- the one that amounts to tens of millions in public revenue give-aways to one of David Samson's most lucrative paying clients.  Income from when he is busy working his private sector day-job, that is ...

Amid controversy, Port Authority revisits $1 park-and-ride lease

by Steve Strunsky, The Star-Ledger, -- Mar 19, 2014

Apart from its financial implications for the agency, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners' vote on Feb. 9, 2012, to let NJ Transit use the lot essentially for free has raised concerns that Chairman David Samson was in a conflict of interest. His law firm, Wolff & Samson, had been retained by NJ Transit agency to help maximize revenues from its park-and-ride lots.

During a meeting this morning of the board's operations committee, commissioners directed agency staffers to re-examine the lease agreement, bearing in mind a 2011 estimate of the 13-acre property's annual lease value of $685,000.

News reports that Samson had failed to recuse himself from the park-and-ride vote prompted a highly unusual release of a letter from Port Authority General Counsel Darrell Buchbinder, the agency's top lawyer, to Samson, which stated that the chairman had indeed recused himself, but the recusal was not recorded in the meeting minutes due to a "clerical inadvertence."

Before the discussion of the park-and-ride lease this morning, Samson recused himself from the committee meeting. This time, to make his position completely clear and in accordance with a new ethical practice of the board, Samson stood and left the meeting room.

Well, I suppose that is a better excuse ("Clerical Inadvertence") than the Retro-active Recusal farce they were first claiming when this Quid-pro-Quo story first broke.

That original excuse is the kind of cover-story you get, when thugs 'abusers of authority' are caught 'bilking the public' -- when they are caught unawares, and unprepared.  And unscripted.

I bet David Samson, and his partners over at Wolff & Samson, are desperately trying to find similar retro-active "Inadvertent Corrections" for these other Samson favoritism-faux-pas -- made under the guise of serving the "best interests" citizens of New Jersey (and New York.)


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.


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.


New Bridge Scandal Emails:  Port Authority Official Said Christie Team's Lane Closure "Violates Federal Law"

by Molly Redden, -- Jan 10, 2014

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."

David Samson (and Chris Christie's confidant) may be one phenomenal corner cutting, loophole abusing, Corporate Lawyer -- but it's really hard to see how he is going to "inadvertently" excuse himself out of that last faux pas?

It's in the official Bridgegate Investigation email record.  Samson refers to his official capacities and historical aversion of disclosing things to the press, among other things:

Email from David Samson -- pg 919

[ To:  Scott Rechler, CEO and Chairman RXR Realty ]

On Sep 18, 2013, at 5:45 AM, "Samson, David"  { }


Scott: I just read it and it confirms evidence of Foye's being the leak, stirring up trouble -- this is yet another example of a story, we've seen it before, where he distances himself from an issue in the press and rides in on a white horse to save the day (if you need prior examples I will provide) -- this case, he's playing in traffic, made a big mistake. D.

[emphasis added]

While another civic-minded Port Authority Director (Patrick Foye) was putting an abrupt end to the 4-Day Traffic Jam on the GW Bridge, David Samson the Chairman of the entire Port Authority, was threatening payback -- calling Foye's effort end to their fake Traffic Study "a big mistake" ...

N.J., feds probe Port Authority chief's contracts
(Andrew Burton, Getty Images) -- Mar 20, 2014

Let's see him "recuse his way" out of this ...

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site