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From the becoming-ever-more-famous Port Authority of NY & NJ:

Board / Committee Meeting Videos

Board Meeting -- 06/26/2013  3:00 pm

David Samson, Chairing

Approximately Timemark 23:20 -- 06/26/2013 Port Authority Board Meeting

Transcript of one rather hot Public Comment:

[Chair D. Samson] Thank you. Our next speaker is Richard Hughes.

[R. Hughes] Good afternoon, commissioners. First of all, I'd like to mention that Murray Bodin is not able to be here today. He's meeting with the Federal Highway Administration team to discuss road lines. I'm sure he'll be talking about that at the next Board Meeting.

We at the Twin Towers Alliance were not surprised to hear the news recently that Navigant, the consulting firm, was under investigation for its cozy political relationships and exorbitant fees. You may remember that when the Navigant report on the Port Authority's finances was released last year, we questioned the validity of that report as well as the millions of dollars that were spent on it.

The Navigant report certified that the Port Authority had identified its problems and was taking care of them. But then it went on to say that the report was only based on the information the Port Authority had released to Navigant. This was a little like certifying the number of chickens in the hen house based on the figures the fox gives you. In other words, the report was not what it appeared to be.

Now we come to learn that Mr. Rechler here has a close relationship with Navigant. I'm not suggesting that Mr. Rechler has done anything wrong any more than I am suggesting that Mr. Samson has done anything wrong as Chairman, even though he represented Larry Silverstein for many years when Mr. Silverstein was anything but a friend to the Port Authority and was operating very much against the public interest.

Nor am I suggesting that Mr. Sartor here has done anything wrong either, though he had to recuse himself from voting 106 times since 2011, according to Shawn Boberg in yesterday's Record. But did he recuse himself from discussions before those meetings— before those votes rather? We don't know.

Sometimes where there is smoke, there is just the appearance of smoke. But sometimes where there is smoke, there is fire. A prudent householder investigates the smoke immediately; a prudent citizenry, through its representatives in the press, should do likewise.

People in positions of authority need to be like Caesar's wife -- above suspicion. Perhaps we at the Twin Towers Alliance would not be so suspicious of these apparent conflicts of interest if our Freedom of Information requests to the Port Authority produce certain documents we have long asked for. For all your talk about openness, you still operate in secrecy.

And by the way, in my experience, where there's smoke, there usually is fire. Thank you.

[Chair D. Samson] {Customary 'Thank you' omitted.} Our next speaker is Gilbert Palacios.

Say what?

Port Authority Turnover to Blame for World Trade Center Overruns: Report

by Daniel Edward Rosen, -- 2/08/12

The Phase I Interim Report, arranged by the Port Authority’s Special Committee of the Board of Commissioners and co-prepared by Navigant Consulting and Rothschild Group, depicted the Port Authority as an agency “at a crossroads, one that is in need of a comprehensive overhaul of its management structure,” said David Samson, Port Authority Chairman, in a conference call with reporters yesterday.

The 51-page report also identified the bi-state agency as one that let costs escalate as it rushed to complete the September 11th Memorial in time for the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack while suffering from “a lack of consistent leadership.”

Redevelopment costs for the World Trade Center site grew from $11 billion in 2008 to $14.8 billion today, according to the report, with the memorial playing “a key role in the escalation of these costs,” said Mr. Sampson. The estimated net cost to The Port Authority after third party reimbursement has grown from approximately $6 billion to an estimated $7.7 billion.

Gross compensation at the Port Authority has also grown in the last 5 years by 19 percent, from $629 million to $749 million.

That, Port Authority Accounting Overruns, what.

Navigant Consulting DID raise the interest of NY City auditors, around the time of that PA Board Meeting:

Port Authority Orders Audit of Consulting Firm

by Patrick McGeehan, -- June 24, 2013

On Monday morning, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s audit committee directed the agency’s inspector general to conduct a thorough review of work, bills and travel expenses for the firm, Navigant Consulting, according to people who were briefed on the matter. The Port Authority has paid $5 million in fees to Navigant for various projects, including an audit of the authority itself two years ago.

Separately on Monday, New York City’s comptroller, John C. Liu, announced that he would audit Navigant’s practices while it acted as a contractor for the city. The city hired Navigant to investigate the possibility of fraud in the scandal-plagued CityTime payroll project.

NO WORRIES though for the Port Authority, Navigant Consulting is still their go-to Fix-it Firm;  this "counter of chickens" has recently been reselected to assist the troubled Port Authority, in their on-going "top-to-bottom review of the agency" ...


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Date: Nov 29, 2011

Press Release Number: 143-2011

Special Committee selects firms to assist in complete review of bi-state agency

The Special Committee of the Board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today announced the selection of two leading consulting and financial advisory firms, Navigant Consulting, Inc. and Rothschild Inc., which will assist them in their continuing top-to-bottom review of the agency. The committee, created at the direction of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has been charged with a complete review of the agency, including its past and current governance, management and financial practices, and its capital projects and spending including a focus on the World Trade Center site.

BTW, here is the Port Authority denial (dated Sept 30, 2010) of the FOIA Request Reference No. 11881 from the Twin Towers Alliance for these informational items, that I presume Richard Hughes was referring to in that opening video:
1. The 7/24/2001 Silverstein Properties Contracts
2. The 2006 Master Development Agreement
3. The contract between Durst Corporation and the Port Authority
4. The agreement announced on 8/26/10 between Silverstein Properties and the Port Authority.

Red Herring?  or the People have "a right to know" -- how all those 9/11 Re-Development Billions are being spent, by the bi-state Port Authority, currently Chaired by Chistie confidant, David Samson?

That's today's dot-connecting Report. You decide.

Just a few more logs to throw on that "smoldering fire" ...

However all this sketchy back-room dealing, leaves the Follow-the-Money "citizen-reporter" in me, wondering:

Who is this Larry Silverstein character, of Silverstein Properties, anyways? ... and Why is he afforded such blanket secrecy, in his "dealings" with the Port Authority of NY & NJ? What makes him so special, besides being one of Wolff and Samson's key business clients?
Yet another research topic worthy of some public/citizen scrutiny, it would seem. Given Silverstein Properties conjectured keen-interest in Fort Lee's recently-fragile land development opportunities ... hopefully up for grabs.

So many questions. So few "public servants" with an incentive to answer them ...

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