The chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey under scrutiny for conflicts of interest and embroiled in the lane closure scandal around New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie resigned Friday.
Christie, who appointed chairman David Samson in 2011, said the official had considered leaving last year and added that there was no indication that Samson was involved in wrongdoing, the AP reports. Samson, who has also come under scrutiny for his law firm’s ties to companies contracted by the Port Authority, released a statement after the announcement was made.
“Over the past months, I have shared with the Governor my desire to conclude my service to the PANYNJ,” said Samson, a former attorney general of New Jersey. “The timing is now right, and I am confident that the Governor will put new leadership in place to address the many challenges ahead.”
Christie announced the resignation of his close ally Friday at a news conference that the governor organized amid an effort to clear his name from involvement in the September incident. On Thursday, a much-criticized investigation by lawyers hired by the governor released its findings that Christie was not at fault in the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. The traffic jams were allegedly orchestrated by aides as political payback for the local town’s mayor not endorsing Christie’s reelection bid.
“The report will stand the test of time and it will be tested by the other investigations that are going on,” Christie said Friday. The report made no mention of the retiring chairman.
The report came under scrutiny in part because the lawyers’ ties to the Christie administration. Three people at the heart of the scandal also all declined to participate in the probe.
Christie said the lawyers would not “give away their reputations to do some kind of slipshod job for me.”