Ex-Port Authority chairman drops suit over ethics probe

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David Samson resigned as Port Authority chairman. He has been linked to Gov. Christie professionally since 2002 and is a past state attorney general. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

David Samson, the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a close ally of Gov. Christie, has dropped a lawsuit that sought to block a state ethics probe into alleged conflicts of interest between his role in a public office and the private business interests of his law firm.

Samson and his firm, Wolff & Samson, withdrew their lawsuit Wednesday, court records show. Casey Woods, legal specialist for the state Ethics Commission, confirmed that the suit had been dropped but said he could not "comment on any open investigations."

He declined to say whether the commission's investigation was continuing.

The ethics investigation was prompted by a complaint filed in March by the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, which alleged Samson used his power as chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to help his law firm's clients.

Those allegations surfaced in the aftermath of the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal, which spurred state and federal investigations into the Port Authority.

Samson, who resigned in March, and his firm responded by filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Trenton on Dec. 8 that contended the state lacked jurisdiction to investigate or act against him in his capacity as chairman of the Port Authority. The suit said the ethics commission had served a subpoena on the firm in October.

Messages left with Samson's attorney, Michael Chertoff, and an attorney representing Wolff & Samson were not immediately returned.

Legislation that would overhaul the operations of the Port Authority, a bistate agency, has passed both the New York and New Jersey legislatures and awaits the signature of the states' governors.


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@AndrewSeidman