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.
Attorney in New Jersey Presses Inquiry on Christie Ally
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The U.S. Attorney in New Jersey is looking into whether Gov. Chris Christie's top man at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Chairman David Samson, acted improperly when he authorized two contracts worth $2.8 billion for companies that his private law firm was representing. U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman launched the investigation last week, according to sources who couldn't speak publicly because of the ongoing investigation.
Fishman, who is seeking the documents, is already investigating Bridgegate and whether the Christie administration threatened the Hoboken Mayor with a loss of Sandy aid if she didn't approve a development deal for a Samson client.
Samson is a top Christie confidante, and the U.S. Attorney's examination brings the investigation significantly closer to the Governor. Christie's press team hasn't commented on the new probe, and in his most recent public comments on Samson, Christie said he "strongly, firmly" backed Samson.
Samson's private attorney, Michael Chertoff, issued a statement saying he "isn't commenting on the investigations."
The new subpoena, first reported by the New York Times, is examining whether Samson had a conflict of interest when he pushed plans to raise the Bayonne Bridge and rebuild the Goethals bridge, while also representing the companies who got the massive contracts.
The projects were of great importance to Christie and the Laborers Union, which became the first union to endorse the governor at a a pivotal point in his re-election bid.