Peabody award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
Cuomo "No Opinion" On Whether Port Chief Should Resign
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
UPDATED Asked whether embattled Port Authority Chair David Samson should resign, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said "I don't know. I don't have an opinion on that."
Cuomo's remarks came as he was leaving a Manhattan news conference Wednesday, a day after his top man at the Port Authority, Executive Director Pat Foye, questioned authority chair David Samson's fitness to run the bi-state agency. Samson, a Christie confidante, has come under increasing fire for a series of potential ethical conflicts at the Port Authority.
Cuomo jointly appoints the Board of the Port Authority with NJ Governor Chris Christie. Cuomo has kept a low profile on Bridgegate, allowing questions to swirl around his NJ counterpart.
In a meeting with the Daily News editorial board, Foye was asked, "Does David Samson have the moral authority to run the Port Authority?" Foye answered with a simple, "No." He declined to elaborate. But yhe Daily News, concluding that "fish rots from the head," said the governors of New York and New Jersey, who jointly appoint the Port Authority's board, should "Sack Samson."
"The shockwaves touched off by Bridgegate have made clear that Samson perverted the PA into a toll-financed dispensary of favors and punishments for Christie allies and enemies -- as well as a benefactor of clients of Samson's law firm," the News opined.
The News is the second paper to call for Samson to resign in the wake of the conflicts of interest revelations -- the Star Ledger, New Jersey's largest paper, last week called for his head. (amNewYork, a daily distributed on the subways, called for Samson to step down January 8 after the Bridgegate emails were released.)
The News also put the question of Samson's fitness to Port Authority deputy director Deb Gramiccioni, Christie's replacement for his Bridgegate-tainted deputy executive director, Bill Baroni. She punted: "You have to respect the integrity of the process before you can answer the question," she told the News.
Samson's private spokeswoman, Sarah Tremallo, made clear that his public relations firm wouldn't respond to newspaper editorials. Christie himself hasn't answered questions about whether Samson should resign. And on Tuesday, Governor Cuomo, Foye's boss, made clear he also had nothing to say.