Protesters demand resignation of Port Authority chairman

Dave Evans reports from Jersey City.
May 5, 2014 10:34:39 AM PDT
Protests erupted Wednesday at the monthly meeting of the Port Authority.

More than two dozen people demanded the resignation of Chairman David Samson.

They say he should have recused himself from Port Authority deals that benefitted his law firm.

"Hey hey ho ho Samson's got to go," they chanted.

Sources say the feds are now investigating Samson for the possibility of a conflict of interest, that his law firm is involved in a billion dollar contract on two bridges, including the Bayonne Bridge.

Samson was appointed by Governor Christie.

"In this action we're calling for our laws to be respected. He should tell Samson to step down," said Analia Mejia of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance.

Ironically, in one meeting Wednesday Samson said he strongly supports a new toughter rule on when Port Authority board members should recuse themselves.

He also got a rousing show of support from one colleague.

"I'm appalled by the press with all their inferences, they have no idea of how hard we work to be impartial and fair and I think it's a damn disgrace the way the press has reviled us and our chairman and other people," said Port Authority board member David Steiner.

Later, in a packed Port Authority meeting, Samson surprisingly said he couldn't stay.

"I therefore turn over to the Vice chairman the conclusion of today's meeting," he said.

Samson said he had to recuse himself because he was too close to the issues being discussed. Still, there was plenty of anger directed at Samson, even though he had left.

"How do you sit there and allow Mr. Samson, his law firm, to be a part of a lot of things that are going on over here, contracts?! How?," said Port Authority critic Cassandra Flock.

A Bergen County official also called for Samson's resignation, but he's refusing to go. And Governor Christie won't budge either, on calling for Samson to resign.

What's interesting is you've seen this massive groundswell of opposition remaining in the chairmanship and he's digging his heels in absolutely. Seems like the only person who wants him to remain chairman is Chris Christie," said Rob Duffy of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance.