Manhattan DA Targets Dock Deal by Port Authority

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The Record reports the Manhattan District Attorney's Office is probing a secret legal settlement between the Port Authority and a politically connected company that operates on Brooklyn's waterfront.

Prosecutors issued a subpoena requesting information surrounding a settlement reached in 2011 with American Stevedoring Inc. (ASI) that excused $15 million in rent at docks in Brooklyn and Newark and paid $10 million in public money to cover the company’s debts.

The settlement was reached in 2011, when Christopher Ward, a former CEO of ASI, was serving as Executive Director of the Port Authority.

Unnamed sources tell the Record the Manhattan D.A. is seeking all communications between the company and the offices of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Gov. Chris Christie, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

"There are a few unusual elements to this settlement," said Shawn Boburg, who covers the Port Authority for The Record. "It was done in secret and never revealed to the public and involved a large amount of public money that was given to a private entity."

The company had been involved in a bitter legal dispute with the Port Authority for not paying rent in three years. The company's owner, Sal Catucci, had made hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations over the years.

Nadler has been a vocal supporter of the company through its legal troubles, in spite of Catucci's reputed ties to organized crime.