P. A. Chair Samson: A Big Fish Squirming in a Net

NY/NJ Port Authority Chair David Samson is in ever deeper trouble. The NJ Working Families Alliance (NJWFA) has presented a strong complaint against Samson to the State Ethics Committee alleging serious violations of the NJ Conflicts of Interest Law (CIL). Samson might have avoided much of the ongoing scrutiny had he announced earlier that at 74 years of age he had decided it was time to leave the post. Instead he dug in, and now more and more information is being unearthed about his activities. Nonetheless, he may yet escape the net with the help of the NJ Ethics Committee which itself seems ethically-challenged.  

The CIL establishes reasonable ethical guidelines to which NJ appointees, including David Samson, must adhere. These guidelines, as explained in the Complaint, indicate that no commissioner “should use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others…” nor “should act in his official capacity in any manner wherein he has a direct or indirect personal financial interest that might reasonably be expected to impair his objectivity or independence of judgement…”

Today’s NY Times article adds yet more examples of how David Samson’s efforts and his votes on the P. A. Board have benefitted his law firm Wolff & Samson and Governor Christie. “A comprehensive examination of Mr. Samson’s dealings with Governor Christie and his administration… shows the extent to which their ambitions and successes became intertwined. Mr. Samson and his law firm benefited financially. Mr. Christie benefited politically.” These examples of conflicts include bridge construction contracts, business retention subsidies and a “booming bond business.”

NJSpotlight recently revealed that “the board voted secretly to approve last month Susan Espasa Guerrero as Gov. Chris Christie’s choice of a new Executive Director of the State Ethics Commission.” NJ Spotlight points out she had served in the governor’s office with nine Christie appointees who were subpoenaed by the legislative committee investigating the Bridgegate scandal. “Earlier she worked as a young lawyer at the same law firm as Christie and William Palatucci, the governor’s most trusted political counselor and was later named to serve as an Associate Counsel in the governor’s office after being vetted by Christie’s transition team, which was headed by Samson, who had served as Christie’s campaign counsel.” If it smells like a fish and swims like a fish, it’s probably fishy.

At this moment a big fish is squirming in a net, and often the biggest fishes escape. The NJWFA complaint and investigative bodies, nonetheless, are drawing the net tighter.

Comments (4)

  1. Bob h

    comes close to being an oxymoron.

    Since Samson derives no salary from his PA position, I don’t see why he doesn’t just bugger off, unless he is getting them to cover his legal expenses.

    Reply
  2. Joebluejersey11

    Also there is a developing story going on up in Bergen County where Samson, who is the lawyer for the Canadian/Iranian group Triple Five is also the Attorney for the Bergen County Improvement Authority. This conflict is a complete conflict of NJ Bar Association.  This alone is enough to bar the firm. Worse yet is that  Republican Bergen County Executive actually approved the contract and has not vetoed the Contact. And Donovan vetos everything. This is insane…..

    Except it gets worse, because Triple Five is also demanding a light rail to there proposed water park and Samson used his influence at PA and NJ Transit to prevent NJ Transit from completeing the light rail up to the Tenafly border and Donovan failed to do anything about it. Now there will be a lawsuit on this…. Also lets not leave out Bergen GOP Party Boss Alan Marcus is the lobbyist for American Dream  and now he is under investigation by the FBI for his own contract and the sex-for-play contracts

    Reply

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