With the Republican convention going on this week, New Jersey governor Chris Christie is probably downing the Xanax. Maybe an extra dose.
First of all, he did not get anointed as Donald Trump’s running mate. Which may or may not be a bad thing.
But worse, his appointee to lead the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and his former AG, pleaded guilty to a bribery charge recently, admitting that he schemed with a lobbyist to delay approvals on a project just to pressure United Airlines to retain and re-launch a money-losing flight to South Carolina because of, are you ready?
His vacation home. In Aiken, South Carolina.
David Samson, former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey pleaded guilty last Thursday to using his post and influence to pressure United Airlines to run direct flights to South Carolina. So he could visit his vacation home.
His preference: leaving Thursday evening and returning Monday morning.
Hello? I would direct flights to a few places, too. Has this guy never heard of JetShare? And does that mean he never worked Fridays?
Samson worked apparently with a lobbyist named Jamie Fox, who was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery. Fox is fighting the charges. Fox once worked for United Airlines.
United is getting slapped $2.25 million in fines for its role in the scheme.
Samson’s history may even be worse now than that of our lawsuit-riddled AG Ken Paxton: he served as New Jersey’s attorney general in 2002 and 2003, and Christie appointed him to the Port Authority chairman’s post in 2011.
Samson admitted that he conspired with Fox to pressure United to reinstate the “chairman’s flight” to Columbia, South Carolina, not far from Samson’s vacation home in Aiken, by removing from a board agenda discussion of a hangar that United wanted at Newark Liberty International Airport, Fishman said.
Around the same time, Chicago-based United was also pressing for concessions from the agency, including rent reductions and a commuter rail-line extension that would connect the airport directly to lower Manhattan.
“I hope they dance to my tune—let me know if there’s a way to keep the pressure on this issue: it will save me a lot of heartache,” Samson wrote in one email to Fox released by prosecutors.
United at first declined to renew the route because it was a money loser but then did because of the pressure, prosecutors said.
Almost feel kind of sorry for United… then again…