Streams

 

David Samson

The Christie Tracker Podcast

The Chairman's Dinner

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How a dinner with David Samson allegedly led to a special flight path… and a federal probe.

WNYC News

Former Port Authority Chairman to Retire from Private Law Firm

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

David Samson steps down from his law and lobbying firm as federal prosecutors continue to investigate his tenure at the Port Authority.

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The Christie Tracker Podcast

Governor Christie’s Favorite Story

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A story often told gets a closer look. The gov. makes his 13th trip to Iowa. Grumbling gets louder among NJ republicans. And the phrase “Chairman’s Flight” enters the lexicon.

WNYC News

Fifth Christie Ally Resigns

Friday, March 28, 2014

As a close ally and confidante resigns from the Port Authority, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says in his first press conference in months that he's been "sensitized" by the bridgegate scandal.

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WNYC News

This Week in Politics: de Blasio, Christie, Samson Feel the Heat

Saturday, March 22, 2014

WNYC

The first Bridgegate question — and calls for Port Authority Chair David Samson to resign. This Week in Politics breaks it down.

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WNYC News

Port Authority Chair Samson, Under Fire, Voices Concern About Reform

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Embattled Port Authority chief David Samson is objecting to an outside review of how the bi-state agency's board works. And his objection comes as federal prosecutors are intensifying their scrutiny of Samson.

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WNYC News

Prosecutor Opens Second Inquiry into Christie Ally

Monday, March 10, 2014

WNYC

Gov. Christie and Gov. Cuomo are standing by David Samson, but now federal prosecutors are looking into his mix of Port Authority leadership and private business.

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WNYC News

Christie Still Backs Port Authority Chair

Thursday, February 27, 2014

WNYC

Despite apparent conflicts, Christie "strongly, firmly" backs Port Authority Chair. 

Comments [2]

WNYC News

How Christie Ally Profited From NJ Transit

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WNYC

David Samson's law firm was hired for legal work on plan his transition committee recommended.

Comments [3]

WNYC News

Cuomo "No Opinion" On Whether Port Chief Should Resign

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

WNYC

New York's Governor offers no reaction to calls for resignation of Port Authority Chairman David Samson.

Comments [1]

WNYC News

Christie Rebuffs Reporters as Questions About his Port Chief Mount

Monday, February 24, 2014

More potential conflicts of interest have surfaced for Port Authority Chairman David Samson.

Comments [1]

WNYC News

Team Christie Mum After Paper Calls on Port Chief to Resign

Friday, February 21, 2014

Saying "beyond Bridgegate, his tenure has been a failure," the Star-Ledger says its time for Christie's top man a the Port Authority to resign.

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Transportation Nation

NJ Transit's Secret Deal With Christie's Favorite Firm

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WNYC

The law firm run by Governor Christie's top man at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, David Samson, extracted a secret agreement from New Jersey Transit that it would build a transit station in a favorable location for Samson's client.

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WNYC News

The Power Broker: How Christie's Port Point Man Plays All Sides of Transit Deals

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

As chair of the Port Authority, head of a successful law firm, and — above all — as a confidante of Gov. Chris Christie's, David Samson has been able to maximize his connections, which spin out across the region's transportation network.

Comments [22]

WNYC News

Port Authority Board to Examine Conflicts of Interest

Friday, January 31, 2014

WNYC

The Port Authority's Board of Commissioners will be examining "all the facts and circumstances" surrounding the burgeoning bridgegate scandal, including whether the Board's Chair, David Samson, had conflicts of interest when he voted to approve a new PATH station near Harrison, two sources familiar with the board's thinking have told WNYC. The sources didn't want to speak publicly because of ongoing criminal investigations.

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WNYC News

Under Christie, Business Booms for Port Authority's Chief

Thursday, January 23, 2014

WNYC

Lobbying and bond work at the law firm of David Samson, a Christie intimate he named to lead the Port Authority, have skyrocketed over the four years of the Christie administration.

Comments [12]

WNYC News

The Law Firm at the Center of Christie's Hoboken Dispute

Sunday, January 19, 2014

As Christie denies allegations that it pressured Hoboken's Mayor to approve a redevelopment deal in exchange for Sandy aid, a powerful law firm has surfaced as a player in the dispute.

Comments [5]

Transportation Nation

Port Authority Pushes Back on Scathing Audit, But Acknowledges Need for Reform

Thursday, February 09, 2012

(photo: Port Authority Chairman David Samson address the media (Janet Babin/WNYC)

UPDATED WITH MORE ON PA STATEMENTS ON WTC & TOLL HIKES (READ A BIT INTO THE POST) The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is defending the expanded costs for the World Trade Center project, but it also admits it needs to become leaner and more transparent.

The agency addressed the project’s costs at its first public Board meeting since an outside audit released earlier this week.  The interim report revealed that costs at the World Trade Center project had ballooned to $15-billion dollars, up from about $4-billion in 2008.

But Port Authority Chair David Samson said the figures did not reflect cost overruns at the World Trade Center.  “The numbers that provide an increase in the original cost estimate were not on cost overruns, and they were not over budget....there was a cost estimate increase,” said Samson.

The Board said that the project’s expanded costs were simply not included in the original cost estimates created in 2008.  “They were mostly costs associated with One World Trade Center and retail, like tenant improvement costs, financing costs, and leasing commissions,” said Vice Chairman Scott Rechler.  He said these were things that would normally be included in a project cost estimate.

The Board said any cost overruns at the World Trade Center site were due to expanded work on the transportation hub, and the accelerated speed of the project.  Some work was fast tracked in order to complete the 9/11 memorial in time for the ten year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The audit, by Navigant Consulting, was commissioned by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and NJ Governor Chris Christie after the Board voted to increase bridge and tunnel tolls last August.  Board Chair  Samson said those toll increases are here to stay.  He also maintained the toll revenue is not linked in any way to the World Trade Center project.  “There was never a statement made that linked the toll increase to paying for the World Trade Center redevelopment,” said Samson.

(That's actually not accurate.  An August 5, 2011 press release announcing the proposed hike specifically cited "the overall cost of WTC rebuilding" as pressuring the authority's finances.  "Faced with three unprecedented challenges at once," the statement said – "(1) a historic economic recession that has sharply decreased revenue below projections, (2) steep increases in post-9/11 security costs, which have nearly tripled, and the overall cost of the WTC rebuilding, and (3) the need for the largest overhaul of facilities in the agency’s 90-year history – the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today proposed a two-phase toll and fare increase to fully fund a new $33 billion ten-year capital plan, which will generate 167,000 jobs."

To be sure, after being sued by the AAA, the Port Authority has maintained that no funding from the toll increase actually goes directly to the World Trade Center, a position the Chair restated Thursday.  Samson said said he "disagreed" that the Port Authority had raised the specter of WTC reconstruction as driving the toll hike, saying that press release was instead painting "a general picture of the financial position of the Port Authority." )

The audit also described the agency as dysfunctional.

The Board blamed that on prior leaders.  Vice Chairman Rechler said that the last ten years at the Port Authority have been “destabilizing.”  The agency lost 83 employees during the 2001 terrorist attacks.  The Board went through seven different executive directors over the past ten years.  “We feel confident now that there’s new leadership,” said Vice Chairman Rechler.

The Board said it’s finding ways to move forward.  It pointed to a new joint venture with Westfield Group as a positive sign. “Our agreement with Westfield leverages public and private sector money that allows us to pursue our core mission: to stimulate job creation and economic activity for the New Jersey and New York region,” said Samson.

The Board said it will also focus on improving capital planning and financing for big projects.  It will also tackle employee compensation.  The audit found that the average Port Authority employee earns about $143-thousand dollars a year.  “We need to better align our compensation and benefits packages to appropriate public employee standards, “said Samson.

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