A report published in the Wall Street Journal Monday said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office is investigating the business dealings of David Samson, one of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s top appointees at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
“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,” wrote the Journal’s Ted Mann.
Bharara’s office has jurisdiction in the matter because Port Authority is a bi-state agency and is headquartered in Manhattan.
A spokesperson for Bharara’s office declined to comment on the report. In a statement, issued Monday, Samson’s co-counsel, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff of the law firm Covington & Burling, also declined to comment.
“We are not commenting on the progress of investigations,” Chertoff said.
Samson and the law firm he co-founded, Wolff & Samson PC, are at the center of the multiple investigations into alleged abuses of power by the Christie administration.
New Jersey prosecutors are looking into allegations made by Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Dawn Zimmer that officials threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy relief funds from her city unless she approved a real estate project being developed by the firm’s clients. Samson’s name also appeared in documents where other Christie appointees at the Port Authority and administration officials discussed last September’s lane closures on the George Washington Bridge that caused days of gridlock in Fort Lee, N.J. Some Democrats have alleged the closures, which are being investigated by the New Jersey Legislature, were ordered as revenge against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for declining to endorse Christie’s re-election. In one document, a Port Authority official said Samson would “retaliate” after the lanes were re-opened by appointees of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
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