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Port Authority Scandal Is Result of Leadership, Patronage Mess, Analysts Say

Transportation experts warned of dangers of growing cronyism, gubernatorial interference months before rogue lane closings in Fort Lee

by Mark J. Magyar

The Bridge-gate scandal that forced the resignations of two of Gov. Chris Christie’s Port Authority appointees was the inevitable result of divided leadership, growing patronage, and increased gubernatorial meddling in the operations of the multibillion-dollar New York-New Jersey agency, transportation experts said yesterday.

In fact, Jameson W. Doig, who wrote the definitive history of the Port Authority, warned almost two years ago of the dangers inherent in the growing “politicization” of the bistate agency. He also cautioned against the transformation of its 12 commissioners into “obedient assistants to the governors, passively accepting patronage appointments and whatever actions fit a governor's short-term political needs.”

Doig said yesterday he was not surprised by the growing scandal that has enveloped the Port Authority, the mega-agency that oversees airports, bridges, tunnels, ports, the PATH light-rail system, and the World Trade Center in New York and New Jersey.

The scandal has already forced the resignations of Christie’s top two operatives at the Port Authority -- Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni and Interstate Projects Director David Wildstein. It has sparked a series of subpoenas and legislative hearings, and has been seized on by Democrats nationally to attack Christie, the GOP frontrunner for president in 2016.

Wildstein, a high school friend of Christie, created traffic havoc in Fort Lee for four days in September by closing two dedicated lanes heading into the George Washington Bridge for a phantom “traffic study.” He also ordered his subordinates not to inform the Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye, who is an appointee of New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, or Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.

Read more at NJSpotlight.com

NJ Spotlight is an issue-driven news website that provides critical insight to New Jersey’s communities and businesses. It is non-partisan, independent, policy-centered and community-minded.




Marge Teilhaber December 16, 2013 at 01:30 PM
I'll never forgive Christie for holding that special 1-line-item election for Senate two lousy weeks before the general election. All for, as they say, to get better victory numbers to bolster his nationwide appeal? I'd never vote for him on that alone. And the PA crap is more of the same nonsense. They deserve to lose their cushy little jobs. WHAT NERVE to mess with things like that.
iMan9796 December 17, 2013 at 10:19 PM
This same disgusting corruption, cover-up & retaliation is standard operating procedure at the Port Authority Bus Terminal's Lost & Found Dept. in NYC concerning lost & found property brazenly stolen by Port Authority Supervisors. Google  “Donna Lebourne abc news" & see the vile face of shame being confronted & exposed for the world to see.  http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=9105280 Port Authority Supervisor Donna Lebourne has an outside job, she is the Vice President of her & her husband’s charity Caribbean Sports International that donates cellphones & other electronics.  If you lost an item at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and did not get it back, contact her charity, perhaps she may donate your item back to you out of the kindness of her cold evil heart. It's very easy to be charitable when you are giving away other peoples' property. http://www.corporationwiki.com/New-Jersey/Maplewood/caribbean-sports-international/85267222.aspx http://www.gmdu.net/corp-390048.html Also, the Port Authority of NY & NJ has become a threat to national security and has placed everyone's safety & security in jeopardy, by undermining all the counter-terrorism measures that have been put in place by the United States. They have allowed crimes such as the illegal policy of disposing lost valid passports in the garbage that are found in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Now just imagine the damage that a terrorist cell could do with those valid lost passports or an identity theft ring.  What happened in Kenya could easily happen here, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, as a result of the Port Authority's intentional breach of national security. This is a willful act of treason against the United States of America. Google "Port Authority - Passports." http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=9277998 NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly agrees with my concerns as well. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/kelly-warns-copycat-terrorist-attacks-malls-article-1.1544046 If the Port Authority will not prosecute and punish their own supervisors for theft, especially when they are caught redhanded, how much confidence do you have in their ability to actually put a stop to their illegal passport policy? The Port Authority's inaction and cover-up is tantamount to treason http://nypost.com/2013/09/09/terror-and-the-nypd/ In this age of global terrorism and rampant identity theft, the Port Authority is a reckless shameful disgusting embarrassment of bi-state transportation agency when it comes to safety & security in this area. To ignore this gaffe would be a crime on all levels of local, state & federal government, who have the power to put a stop to this lunacy.  Action must be taken against these corrupt incompetent criminals in the Port Authority before another terrorist attack takes place & more innocent lives are lost due to their utter disregard about our safety and security, not to mention their disgraceful feeling of self entitlement to patron's lost property found at the PABT. Google “found, stolen, trashed by PA.”   http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/found_stolen_trashed_by_pa_V4RMICgPyy2bhAVzDkW9EL The culture of fear is alive and well at the Port, because crime, corruption, cover-ups & retaliation is the Port Authority way. Believe me, I know firsthand and I have the evidence to prove it. It’s time to stop the madness!
Marge Teilhaber December 17, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Two great pieces on the despicable acts of TPTB at PA: http://www.northjersey.com/columnists/doblin/doblin_121313.html?c=y&page=1 http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/235973481_Doblin__GWB_lane_closure_included_9_11_anniversary.html?page=all

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