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Democrats Expand the Scope of Port Authority Investigations

“I went to four Port Authority Commission meetings -- one work session and the three scheduled meetings in October, November and December -- and I could not get an answer from the executive director or the commissioners on what happened,” Weinberg complained. “I voted for the confirmation of the New Jersey commissioners when they came before the Senate Judiciary Committee, yet I could not get a response. It took subpoenas from Assemblyman Wisniewski’s committee for us to get any answers at all.”

Doig said he was not surprised by the lack of response.

“The Port Authority commissioners are supposed to be independent, but when I met with David Samson, the Port Authority chairman, in November 2011, he said his job was to do whatever Gov. Christie wanted him to do, not to worry about the needs of the region,” Doig said. “It was clearly an example of loyalty to the state taking precedence over loyalty to the region. He was thinking of himself like a department head who could be replaced at will, not as an independent appointee with a six-year term.”

When the 12 commissioners are unwilling to exercise a proper oversight role, excesses like the Bridge-gate scandal are the result, Doig said.

Weinberg noted that Foye, the executive director appointed by Cuomo, told the Wisniewski committee that he believes the lane closures may have violated federal or state law. Further, the emails showing Baroni rushing to Foye’s office to make sure there was no public disclosure of Wildstein’s actions demonstrated that Baroni was aware of the lane closures, Wisniewski noted.

“I’m not a lawyer,” Weinberg said. “We should leave it to the criminal justice authorities to decide. But I think the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be the agency to look at it.”

“We’re still at the beginning of our inquiry,” Wisniewski said. “Legal counsel at the OLS is looking at that very issue. If we uncover any indication that laws were broken and criminal activity took place, we will turn it over to the appropriate authorities. Because it is an interstate bridge, both federal and state laws could apply. We will turn it over to whoever would have jurisdiction.”

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