- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Questions are being raised about a high-ranking Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official’s support for a $256 million reconstruction of a rundown PATH station in northern Jersey.

The Record (http://bit.ly/1hIsSEv) reports Port Authority Chairman David Samson voted for the project three months after a builder represented by his law firm proposed converting a nearby warehouse into hundreds of luxury apartments.

Samson, now embroiled in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure controversy, was not the only commissioner with ties to land around the train station.

The newspaper says Commissioner David Steiner also voted for the station’s massive overhaul. That came four months after he secured rights to build a 20-story apartment complex on another key parcel of land along the Passaic River, a half-mile from the commuter train stop.

Critics say the votes raise questions about whether the commissioners overstepped ethics rules meant to prevent entanglements between their private interests and their control over billions of dollars that flow through the public agency. The revelation marks the third time this month that the role of Samson, a close adviser to Governor Christie, who named him chairman of the authority, has come into question.

A spokeswoman for Samson said in a statement that he “has always held himself to the highest personal and professional standards, including consistently complying with applicable rules adopted by the Port Authority.” But she did not say whether he was aware of the proposed development when he took the vote.

Steiner and Christie’s office did not return requests for comment, while the Port Authority referred questions to the commissioners.

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Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com