Friday, June 20, 2014

Esquire: Chris Christie Is In Deep Samson

Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of guys.  I still blame Jon Corzine for being a lousy governor and allowing the rise of Chris Christie as a result.  But Corzine looks like a prince next to the amoral back-slapping crook that succeeded him:

Paul Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, wades through the sewage of Christie’s stewardship. Two sources with intimate knowledge of the case say Fishman’s pace is quickening -- he has empaneled a second grand jury, and the U.S. Justice Department has sent assistant prosecutors and FBI agents to work the case.  
“What’s taking the most time,” according to one source, “is separating what's viable from all the bad stuff they’re finding that may not be viable.”
Fishman’s challenge is to nail down specific criminal charges on several fronts -- the diversion of Port Authority money to fund New Jersey road and bridge projects; the four-day rush-hour closures of George Washington Bridge lanes in Ft. Lee; and a web of real-estate deals spun by David Samson, long a Christie crony, when he chaired the PA’s Board of Commissioners as Christie’s appointee. (One such deal, a stalled office-tower development in Hoboken, New Jersey, is central to a claim that Christie’s lieutenant governor told the town’s mayor that the state would withhold Hurricane Sandy relief aid from Hoboken if the mayor didn’t sign off on the development project.)
 And then there is this:
Fishman has cut no deals with anyone so far, and the looming indictments have encouraged Christie’s PA appointees to sing. “Don’t underestimate what Wildstein has on Christie,” says one source. “And Wildstein and Baroni have both turned on Samson. If Samson doesn't give Fishman Christie, Samson is toast.” 
. . . .
 “They’ve got [Samson] cold,” says one source. “He got sloppy, arrogant, and greedy. Samson will want a deal. This way, he’d get one or two years. He’d have a future on the other side. He won’t want to die in jail.”  
These guys are as dirty as it gets.  And they're going to go down for it.

Now, supposedly we're going to get a bi-state report on suggested reforms for the Port Authority Christie abused so baldly and badly.  Any substantive effort to change the authority should be free of any influence from the corrupt influence of the Chris Christie administration.

The PANYNJ is a vital and important organization; what this region needs is more interstate cooperation, not less.  It takes regional planning and regional cooperation to effectively manage the needs of the New York City metropolitan area.  We need to prevent more Chris Christies from raiding the Port Authority for their own selfish purposes, but we also need strong bistate cooperation to further the PA's core mission of moving people and goods efficiently through the region.  Our port and transportation infrastructure is the vital economic engine of the region.  We can and must do better.  The Cross-Harbor Rail Tunnel (freight) and the Gateway project (passenger) are vital to the future prosperity of New York City.  With the WTC project finally nearing substantial completion, the PANYNJ must return to its roots and drive the next phase of economic growth with a focus on those two key infrastructure projects.

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