Hat-tip to Daily Kos user HoundDog for digging up the dirt first, about how planned rising Toll Rates were being pegged to provide for the NY-NJ Port Authority 'discretion bucket of money' -- which many have also called their "Slush Fund." Others have been catching up with this latest Port Authority outrage ever since ... WHO can't afford to pay $15 dollars to cross a Bridge, anyways?
by Star-Ledger Editorial Board, nj.com -- March 03, 2014, Updated March 04, 2014
Those projects [World Trade Center and the Pulaski Skyway] are expensive, and help explain why New Jersey motorists will be paying an obscene cash toll of $15 to cross the Hudson by the end of 2015.
The political benefit to Christie is enormous. He grabbed $1.8 billion of Port Authority money that had been set aside for the ARC tunnel under the Hudson, then used it to fund his own transit projects. That’s allowed him to avoid raising the gas tax.
“It’s a slush fund,” says Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), chairman of the investigative committee.
When Public Funds go towards benefiting Private Interests, then something is very slushy in the Accounting and Oversight Depts ...
How Christie Built the Port Authority ‘Slush Fund’
by Bob and Barbara Dreyfuss, theNation.com -- March 4, 2014
[...] Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, both of whom have resigned in the wake of the Bridgegate scandal, were key principals in a secret effort by Governor Chris Christie to raise tolls on the Hudson River bridges and tunnels in order to help fund a slush fund that was used to finance major construction projects that benefited the PA’s chairman, David Samson, and his law firm, Wolff & Samson. Among those projects: the raising and reconstruction of the Bayonne Bridge, a $1.2 billion project that benefited Skanska Koch, a construction firm represented by Wolff & Samson.
The projects, especially the Bayonne Bridge, were touted by Christie during his 2013 re-election campaign, and the governor used the project to win the backing of a major New Jersey labor union, the Laborers’ International Union.
They created a “climate of fear” inside the PA, the source said. And, he added, Baroni and Wildstein were often closeted with David Samson, the PA chairman and Christie’s political mentor. Samson, who has been accused of using his position as PA chairman to benefit his law firm, and whose resignation has been demanded by the Star-Ledger, was a highly engaged and activist chairman, said the source, adding that that was very unusual for a chairman. [...]
Ask those in the know in New Jersey, and they will tell you:
If only high-stakes horse trading ended there -- at the New Jersey's water edge. But sadly they don't. The Port Authority bargaining reach seems to know no bounds ...
by Douglas Feiden, Daily News Staff Writer, nydailynews.com -- Sep 15, 2010
New Jersey pols struck a $1 billion back-room deal with the Port Authority as their price for supporting a breakthrough pact to restore the World Trade Center, it was revealed Tuesday.
The PA board voted to pony up the cash to rebuild the Bayonne Bridge -- a top priority in the Garden State --after Jersey commissioners agreed last month to back a new financing deal for Ground Zero.
Without the bridge funding, a boost to Port Newark, New Jersey Gov. Christie would have blocked the PA from providing $1.6 billion in financing to developer Larry Silverstein, officials confirmed.
Nevermind that Samson and Silverstein have a long standing relationship -- and that Samson used to work personally for Silverstein, back in his former life.
Good thing for Silverstein, that Bridge Funding came through; good thing for Samson, he had Baroni and Wildstein "working the refs" (ie the PA Commissioners) making "those extra slush funds" just mysteriously happen.
Kind of like billions appearing out of nowhere ... just pay no attention to those automated Toll Signs commuters, quietly raising your daily tax -- just for going to work.
Besides it's not like Silverstein really needed ALL that $1.6 billion anyways ... does he:
Larry Silverstein planned 80-story tower, but lack of tenants shrinks vision to 7-floor retail complex
by Simone Weichselbaum AND Erin Durkin, NYDailyNews.com -- Jan 22, 2012
A soaring skyscraper planned for the World Trade Center site may shrink to a measley seven stories.
Developer Larry Silverstein’s 3 World Trade Center office tower was supposed to rise to 80 stories -- but he’s planning to turn the tower into a teeny low-rise if he can’t find a big-time tenant, Crain’s New York reported.
A complex $1.6 billion deal struck in 2010 between Silverstein and the Port Authority required him to ink lease deals for almost 20% of the building in order to get public financing for Tower 3.
When such fungible funds are "so slushy" -- who can keep track of such big numbers anyways?
Or exactly how many floors, do or don't, actually end up getting built?
Certainly not Chris Christie, who's too busy being sad and outraged, at his wheeler-dealer staff ... And that pesky hysterical media.
Certainly not David Samson, who's too busy cutting $50 Million dollar deals, for his clients who gratefully pay his Million dollar retainer-fees.
Afterall, what's a few millions between colleagues, when no one is actually keeping track of how much slush, in their 'discretionary bucket' -- at any one given point in time ...
It's not like the motorists are going "to swim to work" ... ya know?