Former N.J. AG to take over Port Authority

Jessica M. Karmasek Feb. 4, 2011, 11:35am


TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - Former New Jersey Attorney General David Samson has officially been elected the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had nominated Samson for the job in September.

"It is an honor and a privilege to lead this distinguished agency as it takes on some of the most transformative transportation projects in its 90-year history," Samson said.

"During the upcoming years, our mission is clear. We will continue to address the region's major transportation needs, including Bayonne Bridge modernization, and to drive economic competitiveness and job creation in the port region with a commitment to fiscal responsibility."

Samson, who served as attorney general for former Gov. Jim McGreevey, was confirmed by the state Senate last month.

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

Samson succeeds Anthony R. Coscia, who served as chairman since April 2003 -- the longest tenure as chairman in the Port Authority's modern history. In June 2010, Coscia was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.

"I have enormous faith and trust in David Samson, his leadership qualities and ability to guide the policies of the Port Authority," Christie said of new chairman.

"With his background and experience in public life, he is particularly suited to serve the agency, New Jersey and New York, at this critical time as we work together to maximize our shared resources to expand commercial opportunities and prosperity in the port region. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Tony Coscia for his years of service to the Port Authority, particularly for helping maintain the agency's stability and effectiveness during a deep recession."

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

From 2002 to 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 has 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.

Coscia, meanwhile, will remain a member of the Port Authority board until his current term expires in July, the governor's office said.

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.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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