N.J. ethics panel to investigate top Christie appointee to Port Authority

The state Ethics Commission will investigate a complaint the New Jersey Working Families Alliance has brought against former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman David Samson.

The executive director of the alliance said she’s pleased the commission will pursue the group’s allegations that Samson violated New Jersey’s conflict-of-interest laws by voting on matters that benefited his law firm, Wolff and Samson.

“This means that just because you have a relationship with a high priced lawyer or a lobbyist doesn’t mean you get to cut the rules or circumvent the rules in one way,” said Analilia Mejia Tuesday.

The investigation could be lengthy, said Andrew Berns, commission chairman.

“It’s unheard of for a complaint of that nature to be resolved and dealt with by the commission in a 30-day period. We need to perform an investigation,” he said. “The investigation takes as long as the investigation takes.”

The commission has the authority to impose fines on former officials and can prevent them from holding public office in the future, Berns said.

Samson’s name also surfaced in the plot to block approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge, which backed up traffic into Fort Lee apparently to send a message to the town’s Democratic mayor, who did not endorse Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election bid.

Samson, Christie’s top appointee to the Port Authority, resigned from the bistate agency last month.

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