The bridge scandal that has been rocking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) administration is now linked in at least one more small way to a billion-dollar redevelopment project in the state.
On Friday, news broke that one of the officials embroiled in the scandal had hired the high-powered New Jersey lawfirm of Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster to represent him as both state and federal authorities investigate the matter.
The official, David Samson, was Christie’s appointee as chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that oversees the George Washington Bridge, which is at the heart of the scandal. Samson’s name appeared in emails that surfaced earlier this month as part of the legislative investigation into the lane closures on the bridge in September.
But it turns out the attorney Samson hired is also involved in a billion-dollar retail and luxury residential development called Hudson Lights, which is being built at the foot of the bridge in Fort Lee, N.J. Given its location and the amount of money involved, some have wondered whether the project was potentially the motive for the lane closures, which caused days of gridlock in Fort Lee.
A source at the state house confirmed to TPM on Monday the attorney Samson hired is one of the firm’s name partners, Angelo Genova.
The website for Genova’s firm notes he has “served as lead counsel on behalf of a major developer … at a strategically located development site at the foot of the George Washington Bridge.”
Elsewhere on the website, the company says that it represents Tucker Development, one of the companies behind the Hudson Lights project.
Neither the firm nor Genova responded to multiple requests for comment from TPM on Monday.
Samson has so far remained relatively unscathed by the scandal, despite a report that he was considering stepping down from the Port Authority in its wake.
Still, Samson’s name came up in documents that surfaced earlier this month that were related to the scandal. One document showed that one of his fellow officials at the Port Authority vowed that Samson would help “retaliate” against an official who ordered the lanes to be reopened.
Genova, meanwhile, is known in New Jersey circles as an aggressive attorney, and one who has been heavily involved in politics and election law. His biography notes that he has been described as one of the “most deadly courtroom lawyers in the State.” Genova also served as a Port Authority commissioner from 2004 until 2007.