TRENTON - A Port Authority Commissioner appointed by Gov. Chris Christie says he knew nothing about the plan to shut down traffic to the George Washington Bridge last year, but admits ignoring complaints about the lane closures after the fact, including one from a state senator.
Pat Schuber told a legislative panel he ignored the complaints because the issue appeared to be "politically charged or even partisan" and "was not something I wanted to be in the middle of." The panel wants to know whether Christie was aware of the plan to shut down lanes to the George Washington Bridge last September, possibly because of a political vendetta against the mayor of Fort Lee.
A new email chain released by the panel also shows Schuber and former Port Authority Chairman David Samson possibly discussing whether to retaliate against state Sen. Loretta Weinberg after Weinberg complained about the lane closures to Schuber.
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"What a jerk!" Samson emailed. "Do you want me to do anything?" Schuber replies, "That is kind of you but no."
Some of the questions directed at Schuber were unrelated to the bridge scandal and had to do with other ongoing problems at the Port Authority. "One particular employee, who I gather is a police officer, made $331,000 last year because of overtime. That's a lot of vershnagels," said Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll.
Schuber admitted significant changes need to be made at the Port Authority but said he would not support a plan to eliminate the agency, calling that "draconian."