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Report: Federal prosecutors subpoena records from Port Authority chairman

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federal prosecutors from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office have subpoenaed records from Port Authority chairman David Samson.
federal prosecutors from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office have subpoenaed records from Port Authority chairman David Samson. - (File photo)

According to a Wall Street Journal report Monday, federal prosecutors from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office have subpoenaed records from Port Authority chairman David Samson, a Gov. Chris Christie appointee and co-founder of the powerful West Orange-based law firm Wolff & Samson.

The Journal reports that prosecutors are looking into potential conflicts between Samson’s business interests and his public actions as chairman.

A Samson spokesperson declined to comment on the report and Wolff & Samson did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to the Journal.

Though Samson and his firm’s dealings have come under increased scrutiny in the wake of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, Christie has repeatedly denied that the former state Attorney General had any role in the matter.

A January report by WNYC revealed that Wolff & Samson has seen business boom during Christie’s tenure in Trenton. The firm’s lobbying business has jumped from roughly $40,000 annually prior to Christie’s first election to over $1 million per year afterwards and its municipal bond counsel business has quadrupled, climbing to $10.1 billion under Christie from $2.4 billion under Gov. Jon Corzine.

Last week, the New Jersey Working Families Alliance filed an ethics complaint with the state Ethics Commission against Samson, alleging several conflict of interest violations.

“David Samson repeatedly violated the public trust by weighing in and sometimes voting on matters that enriched clients of his law-firm,” NJWFA executive director Analilia Mejia said last week.

Separate from the new inquiry into Samson, federal prosecutors in New Jersey have been conducting an ongoing investigation into claims made by Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer that members of the Christie administration threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy aid from her city if she did not approve a project headed up by the Rockefeller Group, a Wolff & Samson client.

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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