The former Attorney General of the State and New Jersey and current Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, David Samson, is now under federal investigation. According to the Wall Street Journal federal prosecutors have subpoenaed records from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey related to the business interests of its chairman.
Samson was once thought to be untouchable, a soaring and feared figure in the halls of power in Trenton and beyond. But now it seems he will have to answer some tough questions related to how he used his power to benefit his law firm and himself.
The demand for records comes as scrutiny of Mr. Samson—a close ally of Gov. Chris Christie—has increased since allegations emerged that the Port Authority closed George Washington Bridge access lanes for political purposes.
Mr. Samson’s law firm, Wolff & Samson PC, is one of the most prominent in New Jersey and has clients involved in a range of matters important to the Port Authority and the state’s elected officials.
Wolff Samson has seen phenomenal growth under the Christie Administration with Samson and partners raking in millions of dollars in new revenue thanks to government contracts and projects. The firm became a lobbying power house as well as gaining huge bond underwriting contracts.
But it is the firm’s involvement in real estate development that has caused the most concern. Both its involvement in a development project in Hoboken as well as building zones around Port Authority assets.
According to people familiar with the matter, Manhattan federal prosecutors were specifically interested in any conflicts between Mr. Samson’s private business interests and his actions as chairman of the sprawling bi-state authority, which oversees Hudson River crossings into New York City, airports, the PATH rail system and the World Trade Center complex…
The bridge scandal has triggered renewed scrutiny of the authority, especially of Mr. Christie’s appointees, and of Mr. Samson in particular. Among the areas of interest to Christie critics and the media has been the process by which Mr. Samson recused himself from authority consideration of projects that had connections to Wolff & Samson’s clients
Given David Samson’s myriad of conflicts of interests it is almost hard to see how he could not recuse himself from most Port Authority votes.
David Samson has been integral to Governor Chris Christie’s rise in New Jersey politics. If Samson falls it is hard to calculate how many people he could take with him, including the governor himself. The pressure on Samson to resign as chairman is only growing.
Photo from Port Authority of New York and New Jersey under public domain.