- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey took more steps Wednesday to rescind a $1-a-year lease for a park-and-ride lot near the Lincoln Tunnel that raised questions about conflicts of interest with the agency’s former chairman.

The agency’s chief of real estate and development told a committee that it should change the deal made in 2012 that gave New Jersey Transit a long-term extension on a lease that was due to expire in 2013. Published reports have alleged that former Port Authority chairman David Samson voted to approve the lease even though his law firm did business with New Jersey Transit, which operates the park-and-ride lot.

The Port Authority recently said Samson recused himself from the vote, but it was not recorded accurately at the time. Samson resigned last month.

NJ Transit had been paying more than $900,000 in rent for the property before the $1-a-year lease extension was signed.

Real estate chief Michael Francois said Wednesday that an appraisal done in 2011 estimated the rent should be between $700,000 and $800,000 per year. Some committee members questioned why that number was significantly lower than the previous rent.

The committee delayed advancing the measure to the full board until a new appraisal could be done to gauge the property’s rental value.

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