Cuomo: Future of Port Authority board chair up to Christie
March 10th, 2014
02:39 PM ET
6 months ago

Cuomo: Future of Port Authority board chair up to Christie

(CNN) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo kept his distance on Monday from controversy surrounding Port Authority Chairman David Samson, who is under pressure over agency business dealings and whose name has surfaced in a separate political scandal roiling the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

"The chairman of the Port Authority is an appointee of the governor of New Jersey and I will leave it to the governor of New Jersey to make that decision," Cuomo told WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer when asked whether Samson should resign.

The New York Times, the Star-Ledger in New Jersey and two other newspapers have called for Samson, a long-time powerful lawyer in New Jersey, to step down because they say clients of his law firm have benefited from business with the bi-state transportation agency he heads.

"I understand that newspapers have an opinion," Cuomo said. "Sometimes I agree with them, sometimes I disagree with them."

Separately, Pat Foye, the Port Authority's executive director who was appointed by Cuomo, recently said Samson lacked the moral authority to lead the board of commissioners.

Samson previously said he recused himself from board votes when they involved business with clients of his firm, Wolff & Samson. He has not responded to calls that he step down.

Separately, Samson's name has surfaced in connection with a New Jersey state legislative investigation into a political scandal that has upended Christie's administration and clouded any plans the Republican governor may have to run for President in 2016.

The special panel in Trenton is looking at whether Christie appointees orchestrated traffic tie ups near the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee last year and whether that action was politically motivated.

The probe's focus has centered on other officials, including a former senior Port Authority executive and a former Christie deputy in Trenton.

Samson has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but he's been subpoenaed by the panel to turn over documents.

Last month, he issued an apology as board chairman for the inconvenience caused by the traffic gridlock over five days in September.

"I trust that when the facts unfold the public will have a complete picture of what happened," he said at a Port Authority board meeting. The Port Authority oversees bridge operations.

In addition to that probe, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey is also looking into the traffic controversy.

Christie has denied any knowledge of the traffic mess until after it ended and only after it appeared in media reports. He also denies knowledge of any political mischief by his appointees.


Filed under: Andrew Cuomo • Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    Krispy is running out of incompetent friends to appoint to these high positions.

    March 10, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    "The chairman of the Port Authority is an appointee of the governor of New Jersey and I will leave it to the governor of New Jersey to make that decision,"
    -----------------------------–
    Gov. Soprano has confirmed that he exemplifies very poor judgement. He should be stripped away of power that allows him to make political appointments.

    March 10, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Samson's law firm also surfaces in the allegations by the Mayor of Hoboken, that the Christie administration had wanted her to divert Sandy funds to a private developement project. Samson's law firm represented the eventual owners of that development project.

    March 10, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. ????

    At the risk of disappointing the Democrat Pajama Boy voter segment, Christie is not favored among mainstream Republicans.

    March 10, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Chris-E...al

    Tampa tim. You and Chris C. could jump off the G.W. bridge together in the strong spring current and im sure you would bob up screaming bush did it bush did it !help me help me only solar powered boats please...! help .yea right ?

    March 10, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    " Makes you wonder what his motives are. Is it benevolence, hate, or simple greed?"

    The third. By making himself a major donor to things like Nova, he can wield influence by threatening not to donate anymore if they, say, do specials on climate change that go "too far" astray from what the Koch brothers and their businesses find "convenient."

    March 10, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "@sniffit – So the "conservative" rag Mother Jones lied?"

    First, you quote nothing and provide no cite. Second, Reid never said Romney "owed" 10 years of taxes, implying that Romney hadn't paid his taxes and was somehow shirking his responsibility to do so. Reid said the following:

    "His father, George Romney, set the precedent that people running for president would file their tax returns and let everybody look at them, but Mitt Romney can't do that because he's basically paid no taxes in the prior 12 years."

    The clear implication of what Reid was saying is that Romney took full advantage of all the loopholes, deductions and special treatment given to the very wealthy and therefore paid very little in taxes...which is why he couldn't release them, because he knew very well that it would look terrible to most of the voting public that he's a fat-cat rich jerk getting special treatment while he proposes cutting his own taxes even more. Reid was in non way implying or saying that Romney "owed" taxes for those ten years, i.e., hadn't paid what he was supposed to. The issue was how unfair it is that Romney's "supposed to" is so much more advantageous to him than the bitter pills the middle-class must swallow....and which he wanted to make even more bitter. So yeah, again, you're twisting what was said to deliberately misrepresent what Reid accused him of.

    March 10, 2014 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. tom l

    @Rudy,

    "you're stereotyping again. Post one of my "pearls of wisdom" then. I dare you to find even one. Cherry picking counts as a failure, BTW. You constatnly accuse me of name calling. Show us, then. I dislike name calling, and have posted that opinion so many times that you seem to have lost count."

    I have never accused you of namecalling as that is something that you don’t do but you’re probably confusing me with someone else. You have been clear about the name calling so let’s just say that you are mistaking me for someone else accusing you of that. Here are some of your pearls of wisdom with regards to conservatives:

    “It's not about creating jobs. It never has been. It has always been about reducing tax debts for the wealthiest taxpayers and nothing else. "Trickle down" and "job creation" were just euphimisms to win elections so that tax reducing policies could be put into effect. Conservative economic policies don't make any sense because they argtuments were never intended to make any sense, but rather to sway voters. The sole and only purpose has been to reduce the taxes of the wealthiest people in America. It's never been about anything else.”

    “Actually, it is Republicans who have mastered the art of using "free stuff" to win elections. Reaganonmics was designed to benefit the uber-wealthy, but he needed votes to win and stay in office. It was Reagan who introduced our current progressive tax system that allows "47%' of people to little or no taxes at all. It was Reagan who grranted illegal aliens amnesty, and the Bushess who modifed the rules for the IRS I-9 form, which made it easier to hire illegal aliens.”

    Thank goodness for Rudy to let us all know exactly why conservatives do what they do. Without Rudy, we would have no understanding of conservatives. Apparently, conservatives only care about the rich and their nefarious ways. Oh, I long to be a liberal who is just so wonderful and cares so much about everyone. Those terrible conservatives...

    March 10, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. just saying

    love that picture of the smug, know it all cuomo. pretty much says it all about the progressive/socialist/communist democrats. we know about everything, especially when it comes to running your life. now put down that 20oz. soda before we have to bludgeon you and put you behind bars.

    March 10, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Chris – I have tried to avoid blaming Bush for the incredible mess he and Cheney left our country in. What I find interesting is that you RWNJs blame Obama for the unfunded wars, all of the massive debt, the $1.5 trillion deficit that Bush left Obama, Georgia, 9-11, Katrina, the record job loss of 2008, the Great Recession, the patriot act, North Korean getting nukes, torture, etc. Hannity is lying to you.

    March 10, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    " Makes you wonder what his motives are. Is it benevolence, hate, or simple greed?"

    The third. By making himself a major donor to things like Nova, he can wield influence by threatening not to donate anymore if they, say, do specials on climate change that go "too far" astray from what the Koch brothers and their businesses find "convenient."
    ----------------------------–
    Anything is possible, but most viewers are intelligent enough to make up their own minds. I've seen some episodes about evolution, both biological and cosmological, that would cause someone to be burned at the stake a few centuries ago. They've done shows about climate change and probalby every other topic you and cannot think of. I think it is more likely to be more of a quid pro quo situation than anything else. "Donate here, and we'll give you something bigger in return."

    March 10, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    Chris – Unlike republicans, I take responsibility for my actions. I just hope some day you will admit that under Bush, things began to turn ugly, and President Obama inherited two wars that were kept off the books, a foreign policy in shambles, failing auto and housing markets, stock market below 8000, and record job loss.

    March 10, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. Tampa Tim

    Republicans do know how to increase the size of government by monitoring women's reproductive rights.

    March 10, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Tampa Tim

    Tom l – at the risk of upsetting you, Rudy is correct. There are years of research that back him up. And as for conservatives, this past weekend reinforced what conservatism is.

    March 10, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    I have never accused you of namecalling as that is something that you don’t do but you’re probably confusing me with someone else. You have been clear about the name calling so let’s just say that you are mistaking me for someone else accusing you of that. Here are some of your pearls of wisdom with regards to conservatives:

    Thank goodness for Rudy to let us all know exactly why conservatives do what they do. Without Rudy, we would have no understanding of conservatives. Apparently, conservatives only care about the rich and their nefarious ways. Oh, I long to be a liberal who is just so wonderful and cares so much about everyone. Those terrible conservatives...
    -------------------------
    You accused me of something. I quoted it in the very post that you just cited. If it was name calling, what was it then?

    You don't even know why conservatives do what they do. It's all about the money, tom. If you believe anything different, then you, my friend, have a great deal to learn. It has been, and always will be, all about the money. None of the arguments for conservative economic policies make any sense until you realize that it is all a big smoke screen to reduce the taxes of the most wealthy Americans.

    I don't care if you agree with the facts, but the facts clearly show that the policies do not benefit the poor, the middle class, or even the upper middle class (under $250,000/year). The arguments about job creation, economic growth, "protecting the job creators" are all just altruistic sounding language to persuade voters, while disguising the real purpose. We have seen and heard the same arguments and the same results for decades, with only one outcome. The only beneifit goes to the wealthiest among us. Period.

    March 10, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Wake up People!

    And don't forget Tampa Tim, I'm pretty sure before it's over President Obama will also be the cause of that missing jet too.....

    March 10, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. CryBabies

    I think Harry Reid has a history of "thumbing the jonny".

    March 10, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    @tom l.

    Do a web search, tom, for former Republican politician " David Stockman trojan horse " Learn about how one of the architects of "trickle down economics" admitted that it was all "trojan horse", a big scam, a smoke screen, to hide the fact that the true purpose was to simply cut the taxes for the wealthiest Americans.

    March 10, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "we know about everything, especially when it comes to running your life. "

    blah blah family values yackity shmackity krischun nashun herpa derpa all your wombz are belong to us yada yada god sent tornadoes cuz jimmy married bob....

    March 10, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. Gunderson

    Aw, So,
    Mis-Direct, Mis Direct, Mis-Direct. Didja see the replay of where former democrat Senator Daschel had a plan to pay off the National debt by 2014 !!! Just do what i say and all will be fixed. Maybe Daschel had a Bridge to sell you. However Obama just Bump in Road. No, no blame Obama for unfunded wars, Just Unfunded Heath Care. And remember, if you like your health plan, you can keep it, period.

    March 10, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Gurgyl

    Smug is Bush and Reagan that looted this nation, duomo is no where nearer to them. Where is WMD, where is trickle down money pour–China, India. You can be all that idiotic. Tread current Time magazine for economy improving–talks about Nashville. Bin Laden killed, WTC rose in Obama era, idiot. Know the truth.

    March 10, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Christie has denied any knowledge of the traffic mess until after it ended and only after it appeared in media reports.
    -------------------------------------------------
    That doesn't even sound correct.
    The "traffic mess" was all over the front pages of newspapers across the nation as it occurred.
    Saying that he only knew about it only AFTER it ended and only after it appeared in media reports makes no sense.
    None of this crap makes sense.
    The problem is that I don't know if the good Gov did in fact utter this stupidity or if it is just CNN and it's creative journalism.

    March 10, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. just me

    Tom l, thanks for reposting R udy's remarks. They are still cogent and accurate the second time around. And chris e, you just keep getting more ridiculous. Might be time for a nap.

    March 10, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    -tom l

    @Rudy,

    "you're stereotyping again. Post one of my "pearls of wisdom" then. I dare you to find even one. Cherry picking counts as a failure, BTW. You constatnly accuse me of name calling. Show us, then. I dislike name calling, and have posted that opinion so many times that you seem to have lost count."

    I have never accused you of namecalling as that is something that you don’t do but you’re probably confusing me with someone else. You have been clear about the name calling so let’s just say that you are mistaking me for someone else accusing you of that. Here are some of your pearls of wisdom with regards to conservatives:

    “It's not about creating jobs. It never has been. It has always been about reducing tax debts for the wealthiest taxpayers and nothing else. "Trickle down" and "job creation" were just euphimisms to win elections so that tax reducing policies could be put into effect. Conservative economic policies don't make any sense because they argtuments were never intended to make any sense, but rather to sway voters. The sole and only purpose has been to reduce the taxes of the wealthiest people in America. It's never been about anything else.”

    “Actually, it is Republicans who have mastered the art of using "free stuff" to win elections. Reaganonmics was designed to benefit the uber-wealthy, but he needed votes to win and stay in office. It was Reagan who introduced our current progressive tax system that allows "47%' of people to little or no taxes at all. It was Reagan who grranted illegal aliens amnesty, and the Bushess who modifed the rules for the IRS I-9 form, which made it easier to hire illegal aliens.”

    Thank goodness for Rudy to let us all know exactly why conservatives do what they do. Without Rudy, we would have no understanding of conservatives. Apparently, conservatives only care about the rich and their nefarious ways. Oh, I long to be a liberal who is just so wonderful and cares so much about everyone. Those terrible conservatives...
    *****************************************
    Tom, do you ever allow anyone else the opportunity to express their opinions about their opponants without sarcasm? Yes, I do it too.If you think that the legacy of conservatives has had no human cost whatsoever, you are a fool. I know you're not a fool, so why can't you have one of those epiphanies that you demand everyone else have, step back, and survey the carnage the Right has inflicted on this country? You claim its all gang warfare, yet you have definitely taken sides in a fashion that makes people question how independent you actually are.

    March 10, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    -just saying

    love that picture of the smug, know it all cuomo. pretty much says it all about the progressive/socialist/communist democrats. we know about everything, especially when it comes to running your life. now put down that 20oz. soda before we have to bludgeon you and put you behind bars.
    *********************
    Actually, that was Bloomberg, who became an Independent when the whack jobs took over the GOP. As for him being smarter than you, well, if you have an inferiority complex because he's accomplished things you could only dream of, well, that's your fault. By the way, Forbes magazine found that the 10 states taht scored lowest in educational scores were all Red States. Top ten are Blue states. Cuomo runs a blue state. Read it ( if you can) and weep.

    March 10, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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