Christie took ‘Chairman’s Flight’ at center of criminal scandal, report says
Gov Chris Christie three years ago took the infamous "Chairman's flight" — the money-losing flight from Newark to South Carolina former Port Authority Chairman David Samson pressured United Airlines into creating for his personnel benefit, NJ Advance Media reported Tuesday.
In addition, members of the U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey — which investigated Samson, charging him with the shakedown to which Samson later pleaded guilty — also took the flight at times, the report says.
In Christie's case, he took it in 2013 with his son Andrew for out-of-state travel that included a visit to Samson. A Christie spokesperson told NJ Advance Media the governor had no idea he was piggybacking on a flight United had created as a political favor for Samson.
Samson — a mentor to Christie, who appointed him chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — admitted in July he used his position to pressure United Airlines to reinstate the flight, to make it easier to get to his vacation home.
Jamie Fox, a former lobbyist for United who Christie later named to a Cabinet post, was charged by federal prosecutors with soliciting the bribe. Fox’s attorney says he will fight the charge.
Last year, charges were brought against Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, as well as against Christie-appointed Port Authority Officials Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, all accused of conspiring to shut down lanes of the George Washington Bridge as political payback against the mayor of Fort Lee, who declined to endorse Christie involved in closing down lanes of the George Washington Bridge. Wildstein has pleaded guilty.
Christie himself has not been criminally accused in any of the matters. His taxpayer-funded legal bill has topped $10 million.
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