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In the discussion thread: Christie Crime Digest Volume III [View all]

Response to Laxman (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2015, 09:45 AM

49. Apparently The U.S. Attorney Is Not Finished.....

digging in Mr. Christie's cesspool (isn't THAT a pleasant thought?) Will Samson will be the real downfall for Christie? We shall see....

Turbulence Ahead: Chris Christie and the 'Chairman's Flight'

An hour and a half into a Friday night town hall meeting at Fury’s Publick House in Dover, New Hampshire, when reporters had already started to pack up their gear, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took one last question from a self-described “old Jersey girl.” Eileen Sahagian said she accepted Christie’s explanation that he knew nothing about the George Washington Bridge lane closures, but something was still bothering her.

“People with whom you work very closely somehow got the idea that that was okay, and I’m worried about a president who has people around him who feel that that’s okay,” said Sahagian, an educator from Durham.

Calmly but emphatically, Christie told her he had cooperated with three exhaustive investigations. “And I’m moving on from it now, because I lived through 15 months of three investigations that have now confirmed everything I said 15 months ago,” he said.

But though federal prosecutors say they are finished with Bridgegate indictments, they aren’t finished looking into Christie appointees at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Sources familiar with the investigation say witnesses have been interviewed as recently as this month.

Interviews and records obtained by WNYC indicate that New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman is examining whether a sustained influence campaign by United Airlines paved the way for a deal to lower United’s flight fees at Newark Liberty Airport by tens of millions of dollars a year. United’s overtures included a special flight route that benefitted the Port Authority’s former chairman David Samson; campaign contributions; fancy lunches and dinners; and meetings with top officials, including Christie.

The deal was never consummated – it blew up in the wake of the burgeoning Bridgegate scandal. Last December, United filed a legal complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration over the fees, and the matter is currently being litigated.

United “Bet The Farm”

United – and Continental Airlines before it – worked for decades to become the dominant carrier at Newark Airport. United now runs 70 percent of the flights from Newark. It owns take-off and landing slots it doesn’t use, just so no one else can. “They bet the farm on Newark, and it’s worked for them,” says Steve Sigmund, a former Port Authority official and airport expert. For United, Newark is “a major profit center, internationally.”

Indeed, just last month, despite historic snowfalls in the northeast that produced cancellations and delays, United reported its most profitable first quarter ever.

A lot of recent profit in the airline industry has come from squeezing dollars from passengers who now have to pay for luggage, snacks and legroom. But there’s a particularly maddening cost that United can’t turn around and collect from passengers: the $120 million in flight fees it pays to the Port Authority for using the Newark airport. For historical and legal reasons, those costs are much higher than they are at JFK and La Guardia airports – 75 percent higher and 59 percent higher, respectively. Even though United signed leases accepting those fees, its sense of grievance over the inequity has grown in recent years, peaking in 2013, when new laws created higher costs for the Port Authority at the airports. Contractually, those costs are borne by the airlines.

“The Port Authority operates EWR for its own benefit, contrary to the interests of the traveling public and the aeronautical users of the airport, imposing excessive, unreasonable, and discriminatory charges to generate huge surpluses that are siphoned off to non-aeronatical operations,” United charged in its complaint to the FAA.


Read the rest here-it's worth it: http://bit.ly/1GtkFDb

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