Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Samson and Da Liah

This Samson-Christie relationship bears watching - and further investigation.  Pat Foye is correct to say that David Samson has no business staying on as the head of the Port Authority.
The efforts of the two men became increasingly bold as Mr. Christie’s national profile increased and Mr. Samson became a central figure in the region’s construction field.
Perhaps the clearest example of this symbiosis, previously unreported, came last April, when Mr. Samson presided as the Port Authority awarded two bridge construction contracts worth a total of $2.8 billion.
Mr. Samson paused after the vote of the 12-member board to call the occasion “joyous and happy.” It certainly was for two clients of his law firm.
One longtime client was I.M.T.T., which owns a liquid storage facility on the Bayonne waterfront. The company is half-owned by the Macquarie Infrastructure Company, one of the contractors Mr. Samson and his fellow commissioners awarded $1.5 billion to replace and maintain the Goethals Bridge.
A second contract, for $1.3 billion, was to raise the Bayonne Bridge to allow clearance for the largest container ships — though Port Authority experts had seen the project as a lower priority. Mr. Samson “came in like gangbusters” and insisted on proceeding immediately, one former project official said.
And of course,
Mr. Samson did not recuse himself from either vote, according to minutes of the meeting. Mr. Samson’s spokeswoman, responding to multiple requests delivered by phone and email, declined to comment on the votes or other apparent conflicts that have been raised in recent weeks.
As a tangential matter, this may be the most ironic settlement demand of all time:
In 2007, Mr. Christie gave Mr. Samson a $10 million contract to be the compliance monitor for a medical implant company, a position that was part of a settlement under which Mr. Christie agreed not to criminally prosecute the company on federal kickback charges.
A patronage kickback to defer a kickback scheme prosecution.  You can't make this stuff up.

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