The New York Times reported Tuesday that federal prosecutors in New Jersey subpoenaed records last week from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, focused on two major bridge contracts awarded to construction companies represented by a law firm founded by the agency's chairman, David Samson.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey had already been looking at the George Washington Bridge lane closures, which in September caused a massive traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J., and other allegations recently made against the administration of Gov. Chris Christie (R). Samson, a former state attorney general, is a close ally of Christie's and was appointed to the board by the governor.
According to the Times, the new subpoena focuses on two contracts awarded last April, "one for $1.5 billion to replace and maintain the Goethals Bridge, and the other for $1.3 billion to raise the Bayonne Bridge so that the largest container ships could pass beneath it." Wolff & Samson, the New Jersey-based law firm founded by Samson, had previously come under scrutiny in the press for its role representing a company that wanted to develop land in Hoboken, N.J. In January, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer publicly accused the Christie administration of threatening to withhold Hurricane Sandy aid if she did not approve the development deal.
According to the Times, the subpoena from New Jersey was issued a few days after the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan withdrew a similar one.