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David Samson Voted For Project That Would Benefit His Firm's Client

David Samson voted for a $256 million reconstruction of the rundown PATH station in Harrison three months after a builder represented by his law firm proposed converting a nearby warehouse into luxury apartments.
David Samson Voted For Project That Would Benefit His Firm's Client
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I'm positive it was just a coincidence, because Samson is a highly connected lawyer who must adhere to the highest professional standards! Ha ha, just kidding:

Port Authority Chairman David Samson voted for a $256 million reconstruction of the rundown PATH station in Harrison three months after a builder represented by his law firm proposed converting a nearby warehouse into hundreds of luxury apartments, according to records and interviews.

Samson, now embroiled in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure controversy, wasn’t the only commissioner with ties to land around the train station. Commissioner David Steiner also voted for the massive overhaul of the station, four months after he secured rights to build a 20-story apartment complex on another key parcel of land along the Passaic River, a half-mile from the commuter train stop.

The upgrade, planned for years but finally approved March 29, 2012, by the board Samson leads, is designed in large part to spur the rejuvenation of the gritty industrial city across the Passaic River from Newark, a renewal that would undoubtedly increase property values in the area.

The votes raise questions about whether the commissioners overstepped ethics rules meant to prevent entanglements between their private interests and their control over billions of dollars that flow through the public agency. The revelation marks the third time this month that the role of Samson, a close adviser to Governor Christie, who named him chairman of the bi-state agency, has come into question.

Samson said he had no prior knowledge of the lane-closing scheme at the George Washington Bridge, but documents released this month show he was angry that an internal memo criticizing the closure was leaked to the press.

Ten days after the lane-closing plan was shown to involve Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer claimed two Christie Cabinet members improperly pressured her to back a development proposed by another client of Samson’s politically connected firm, Wolff & Samson. The proposal was aided by a Port Authority planning grant. The Christie administration has denied anything improper and is standing by Samson, who sat on the stage with other confidants as the governor was sworn in for a second term last week.

Samson has denied any wrongdoing in each issue but has retained counsel of his own as several investigations, including one by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, unfold.

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