Former N.J. AG to head port authority

Jessica M. Karmasek Oct. 1, 2010, 11:33am


TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced on Thursday he would nominate a former state attorney general to be chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The nomination of David Samson, who served as attorney general for former Gov. Jim McGreevey, must be confirmed by the state Senate.

McGreevey served as governor from 2002-2004 and resigned his office after publicly declaring his homosexuality and admitting to having an extramarital affair with a man.

Samson will replace Anthony Coscia, who has served as Port Authority Chairman since 2003.

"David Samson is a well respected, distinguished leader who I am confident will successfully steer the Port Authority through this next critical phase in the bi-state agency's history," Christie said in a statement.

"He is a capable steward who will work to represent New Jersey's best interests while ensuring the viability of our port economy and its vast network of transportation facilities lead to future economic growth for the Garden State and the region as a whole."

The governor thanked Coscia for his "commitment" and "professionalism." He will remain a member of the Port Authority board until his current term expires in July 2011, the governor's office said.

Christie said Samson, a Republican, has long been a "trusted adviser" through several administrations.

From 2002-2003, he served as attorney general to McGreevey. Among his other public positions, Samson was appointed by former Govs. James Florio and Thomas Kean to special task forces on health care and university medicine and dentistry.

Samson also was appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to serve on its ethics committee and was a member of the Court's Committee on Reporting of Court Decisions.

The governor's office also touted his 40-year career in private practice, noting he has "extensive experience" in complex business and corporate litigation, administrative proceedings and government and regulatory affairs.

Established in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is a bi-state agency created to promote and protect commerce of the Port District, the region within a radius of approximately 25 miles of the Statue of Liberty.

According to the governor's office, the authority handles 40 percent of eastern seaboard trade, of which 58 percent directly benefits the surrounding region. In 2009, the dollar value of all cargo handled totaled more than $146 billion.

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