The head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey defended his agency ahead of a $400 million lawsuit it could face from Jersey City, which seeks to have the bistate entity pay higher taxes for a host of properties it owns around the city.
Port Authority Chairman David Samson told NJBIZ: "We usually do not comment on threatened or pending litigation, but I can tell you the Port Authority is in compliance with its legal and contractual obligations."
Earlier this week, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said he planned to sue the agency for $400 million, citing "economic damages caused by the Port Authority's unfair and outdated tax agreements with the city."
Fulop said agreements for scores of properties have cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax revenue over several decades, and that agency officials have been "completely unresponsive" to his outreach efforts since he took office in July.
All told, the city alleges the Port Authority pays $2.2 million annually for properties whose current assessments should generate more than $18 million in taxes.
Officials from the authority, whose board met this week, have declined to respond ahead of pending litigation. Meantime, some state lawmakers came out in defense of the agency, including Sen. Michael Doherty, who said the threat of the lawsuit was "hypocrisy" considering state tax exemptions enjoyed by the city.